“As paw parents ourselves, Herbie and I enjoy fine food and wine so we just wanted Skippy (their Golden Retriever) to experience the life we live,” Stephanie Chan shared.
Every year, the couple would plan Skippy’s birthday in advance and invite her dog pals to the house for a party. Each celebration would be better than the last and they would always make sure that her birthday cake is the star of the menu.
But during Skippy’s 6th birthday, Stephanie had another idea. With her trip to Bordeaux, France to visit a wine chateaux coming up, she felt inspired to serve wine to Skippy too.
After a quick web search, she found out how common dog beer, wine, and champagne are in the US. So she made her own batch for the party, and caught all of her friends’ attention.
“They were fascinated as to how cute the wine was and asked why not I produce this and sell it? We (Stephanie and Herbie) thought it’s not a bad idea and we launched Pawsome Brewery in November 2023.”
Taking ins-paw from her own life
Hearing this, you might think that it’s quite an impulsive decision. After all, catering to the diets of animals can be challenging as not everything humans eat is safe for them to consume.
But Stephanie is actually the founder of another pet-friendly venture. Located in Puchong, WBO at The Cube is a dog-friendly alfresco dining restaurant.
Not only can you bring your dogs along, but the eatery also offers an F&B menu for your furry friends. Whether that’s food from their BARKITCHEN, drinks from their BARKRISTA, or even a bar menu from their BARK BAR.
For example, the restaurant offers treats like:
- Hot Dogolate, hot chocolate that’s not really chocolate
- Dotcha Latte, matcha latte made from cucumber yoghurt
- Pawgarita, margarita made from cucumber and spinach chicken broth with bacon biscuits and yoghurt
So this isn’t Stephanie’s first time dabbling in homemade food and drinks for pets.
Not messing around with her furbaby’s health
Now, although they’re called beer, wine, and champagne, none of Pawsome Brewery’s products actually contain alcohol. This is because alcohol is toxic to dogs and most pets.
In lieu of that, the brand mainly uses meat (either chicken or fish), vegetables, fruits, herbs, filtered water, and turmeric for their beverage concoctions. The founder also clarified that they don’t use any seasoning, artificial colouring, or carbonation.
Each bottle is made in-house by Stephanie and her team from scratch using fresh ingredients from the same suppliers as WBO at The Cube. And throughout the process, she takes extra precautions to ensure that it’s safe to consume.
Before starting, every single bottle and its caps are sterilised. The vegetables and fruits are cleansed with food-safe washing liquid, while the meat gets a hot water bath before they’re boiled.
Depending on whether they’re using fish or chicken, it takes around three to five hours of simmering. Once cooled, the bottling process begins immediately. This is to reduce the chances of bacteria contaminating the drinks.
“After capping, we will put it right away into the chiller at around 3°C,” Stephanie shared.
As the French say, “bone” appétit!
Considering its ingredients, the brand actually promotes Pawsome Brewery’s offerings as pet supplements, despite the branding.
“Our products help to improve their digestive systems, have vitamin C, [and] anti-inflammatory properties. [It] can also be used to soften kibbles for senior dogs and for dogs who drink less water to help hydrate them,” the restaurateur explained.
Some repeat customers have also shared that their dogs poop more easily and more often after consuming the brand’s beverages.
Currently, Pawsome Brewery has three products:
- Barkale (RM18), which is dog beer made of chicken broth with turmeric
- Malbark (RM21), which is red wine for dogs made of chicken broth with fruits
- Dog Perignon (RM18), which is champagne for dogs made of fish broth with fruits
They each come in 325ml bottles and contain no preservatives. With that in mind, the shelf life is only three weeks and it has to be refrigerated. However, the brand recommends consuming the drinks within two days once opened.
“We also suggest customers to transfer into ice cube trays and freeze them if they want to keep. [They will last] up to three months,” Stephanie added.
Staying mindful of their dietary restrictions
Now, being a paw parent myself, I understand the worry of feeding your pets the wrong thing. This is something that Stephanie and Herbie resonate with too.
Although the products aren’t certified by veterinary bodies, the brand avoids using preserved or unusual products that are harmful to animals. Some examples of this include grapes, chocolates, and onions.
“As a dog parent myself, I learnt about what is safe or not for my own [fur] kid, so I will not put anything that is not safe for other fur friends,” Stephanie stated.
“I am [also] totally aware of allergies, as I am heavily allergic to peanuts and getting into anaphylactic shock is no joke, so I don’t take these allergy issues lightly.”
Presently, Pawsome Brewery’s products are available at WBO at The Cube. But you can also find them at bars like Kura’s Krafts in Bukit Damansara and Farmer’s Bar in Subang Parade. Some pet stores like Paramount Pet Shop and Paws Grocer in Bangsar carry them too.
Though, this list will likely grow soon as the brand collaborates with more bars and pet-friendly cafes.
Widening their playing field
It’s been slightly over a year since Pawsome Brewery launched and the reception has been good. So far, Stephanie reported that they’ve sold around 350 bottles of Barkale and 400 bottles of Malbark.
Aside from expanding the product line, she plans to first broaden the brand’s reach to other states in Malaysia. Though, the bigger goal is to enter China and Korea.
To achieve this, she’d need to invest more in R&D to lengthen the products’ shelf life and improve its packaging. Both of which they don’t have the resources for at the moment. But she’s open to collaborating with others interested in funding the venture.
Closer to home, though, Stephanie and Herbie are delighted to include Skippy in another part of their lives.
“We usually would eat our meals with wine. With our own products now, Skippy doesn’t just stay beside our chairs, wondering what we are eating or drinking up on our table. She gets her own table, food and wine or beer too,” she quipped.
- Learn more about Pawsome Brewery here.
- Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Pawsome Brewery