Aug 5, 2022 - Food and Drink

In Richmond, kids are (mostly) welcome at breweries

Illustration of a flight of beer, with a sippy cup replacing one of the glasses.
Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Breweries — establishments dedicated to creating, selling and consuming adult beverages — are increasingly welcoming a precocious category of non-drinkers: kids.

Driving the news: Karri expressed outrage last week after spotting what appeared to be a 4-year-old's birthday party at a brewery near her house.

  • The remark prompted a flood of reader emails, nearly all of which voiced support for parents bringing their children along, though most also questioned the wisdom of hosting a full-on kids party at a brewery.

What's happening: Richmond breweries seem to mostly be pro-kids, too. Nearly every brewery in Richmond describes itself as kid or family-friendly on its website.

The latest: At least one is also taking precautions to better accommodate both people with kids and those who prefer to avoid kids.

  • Hardywood has long offered a family area at its West Creek location, but it recently added an adults-only section, too.
  • "We were still getting feedback that there were too many kids running around," Patrick Murtaugh, co-owner and co-founder of Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, tells Axios.

What you're saying: Reader Andrew L. wrote to tell us he fully supports bringing well-behaved kids to breweries, as long as it's during the daytime.

  • "Especially during [the] pandemic, outdoor breweries were a lifesaver for me and my wife as we have an almost 3-year-old now," he writes.

Tristen P. wrote to share her enthusiasm for the casual, outdoor atmosphere breweries offer families compared to standard restaurants.

  • She says her toddler likes them so much that he sometimes "requests to go to a 'brewdee.'"

And Caleb Q. told us he loves "that breweries are often kid-friendly spaces, especially for parents with babies/toddlers."

  • "We still want to get a drink with our friends and not have to give up our whole social life," he says.

The other side: Reader M.W. wrote to share her concern that exposing kids to bars and breweries at a young age "normalizes alcohol consumption in a way I'm not comfortable with."

  • "Childhood is short, and kids should play in appropriate places while they're young," she wrote.

Our thought bubble: Ned has already taken his 8-month-old, who mostly just likes being outside, to a few breweries.

  • Karri (who for the record has no kids but does insist on bringing her untrained dog everywhere) is heading for Hardywood's adults-only section.
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