Maine Folks have Pretty Strong Feelings About Kids in Breweries
This is definitely a case of "don't shoot the messenger".
I imagine this whole concept will be a hot button issue for people on both sides of this. No one wants to be told how to raise their kids, or where it is or isn't appropriate to take your kids. Most parents would like to you to stay right out of their business when it comes to their kids. But you know, beer drinkers can be a persnickety crowd too.
A lot of people love to unwind and relax a bit with a delicious adult beverage. And honestly, it can seem a little hard to let your guard down a bit if you feel like you have to watch out for a bunch of kids running amok, wreaking havoc all over the place. It's not your kid... Why should you have to watch out for someone else's kid?
This has become an intense debate on social media.
According to this thread on Reddit, one person floated the idea that a brewery seemed like a truly odd place to host a kid's birthday party. Like, wouldn't Chuck E. Cheese be a better spot? Or at least someplace with a kid friendly theme? This naturally caused a cascade of comments, over 300 deep.
Many people on all sides of the fence chimed in. Beer enthusiasts, parents, brewery employees, dog owners... everyone. In fact, dogs became the other hot-button issue in the thread. But to me, it seemed like there was a clear arc to the conversation.
Like you'd expect, parents didn't want to be lectured.
The few parents jumping in this thread and openly defending themselves had the valid point that you raise your kids your way, I'll do it mine. They didn't see the harm in going to a place that the adults could enjoy too, as opposed to a more kid-friendly place.
And honestly, that seemed to be about the only defense. Again, I'm not personally judging, this is just what I was reading.
Beer lovers didn't want to have to act like parents to someone else's kids.
This group made very clear points as to why they weren't on board with this. A lot felt that kids didn't belong in an alcohol focused establishment to begin with. But they also felt a lot of parents laxed on supervision of their kids, letting them run all over. They also felt they had to monitor their language.
Many felt that if they're in what's essentially an upscale bar, that they shouldn't have to worry about who's listening when they talk. Dropping an F-bomb may not be the most socially couth thing to do, but if it's all adults, who cares? When kids are around they feel it changes the vibe.
Employees of breweries had their own hot take, too.
Employees seemed generally in favor of leaving the kids home. Many said that often they're given no warning, or maybe just a vague phone call, asking if they can accommodate a party of 15-20. Next thing you know, people are rolling in with strollers and balloons and pushing tables together.
Then other customers are getting testy with them, because of the influx of kids. And if they try to reign it in with the parents, they can sometimes get nasty, feeling like they're being singled out. So the brewery ends up caught in the middle, trying to somehow please two groups of people with wildly different opinions.
Is there a right or wrong answer?
At the end of the day, it's going to be hard to turn away business for any brewery. And I see all sides of this. You want to go where you want, but is it a good idea to potentially impact a whole business operation, just for you? Sadly, I think we all know the answer there. Those that know better probably don't do it.
I guess if I had to have an opinion, I'd say that there's always going to people who think of others, and people who will only think of themselves. Bringing kids to a restaurant is one thing... A Brewery? It's not something I'd do. I'm not saying you shouldn't, I just do what I think is right, because that's all I really can do.
Now, all that said, here's where you can find some tasty beers around Maine.
25 "Under-the-Radar" Maine Craft Breweries
Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka
Top 20 Maine Breweries According to Trip Advisor
23 of Portland's Best Breweries
Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka