Dunbar Thompson discovered beer for dogs late last summer while on a father-daughter shopping expedition to Toronto.
The co-proprietor of Sault Ste. Marie's The Whisky Barrel overheard a conversation between a woman and the manager of a pub he was visiting while his daughters shopped nearby.
"She gave her spiel to the manager on the patio but he didn't bite," Thompson said. "When she was about to leave, I called her over and said that I own a pub up in northern Ontario and am interested in her craft beer for dogs."
Crafty Beast Brewing, located in Nova Scotia, makes Fetch, a non-alcoholic craft beer just for dogs. Simply put, the brew allows people who like to do everything with their canines to relax and enjoy a cool brew — while their dog drinks, too
Because it was late last season, Thompson said he didn't sell much dog beer. But this season, more of it has moved — and he's added a second brand from Crafty Beast, Unleashed, which is formulated for more active dogs.
"Everyone with a patio should stock it," Thompson said. "Dogs love it and it's good for them."
The brew is booze free and a great source of essential minerals. It also provides canine companions with immune system and joint support and helps promote digestion as well as a healthy gut.
Since its opening in 2018, The Whisky Barrel has expanded its whisky offerings from about 40 to more than 60 brands, Thompson said. Some of the original offerings are no longer available so they've been replaced with other brands.
It also has some interesting cocktails on the menu, as well as a number of local craft beers perfect for sipping while listening to live music at the pub on Friday or Saturday nights.
The Whisky Barrel also continues to offer an unusual and interesting menu of foods and non-alcoholic drinks for humans as well as dogs.
Made from homemade ice cream craft root beer, its root beer floats are worth a walk across town. Sap Sucker Sparkling Water, an organic beverage made with tree water — sap tapped sustainably from trees in Ontario and Quebec — can also be found there.
Thompson says the menu tends to be fairly consistent and includes unusual offerings like haggis bites (when he can get the ingredients), Scotch eggs and Neeps and Tatties.
But he does like to experiment with his recipes and try new things.
One of the sources he has pulled some inspiration from is The Elder Scrolls: The Official Cookbook, a cookbook that recreates recipes for food that might have been served in Skyrim, Morrowind, and all of Tamriel. Even if you're not Dragonborn, you will appreciate the soups and specials Thompson creates after perusing the cookbook.
The cookbook was a gift from his wife and co-proprietor of The Whisky Barrel, Melissa Thompson.