Daniel Keeton quit school in June 2012 so he could launch a business selling beer for dogs.
Since the launch of Dawg Grog, a nutritious non-alcoholic beer, Keeton has sold over 300 six-packs online and distributed his cocktail to dogs all around the world. He has landed his product on the shelves at pet boutiques and alehouses throughout Oregon and has unveiled the first dog beverage on tap at Riverside Market in Bend.
“I told myself ‘school will always be there,’” Keeton said. “I felt like putting all of my energy into this idea. The company was more important at the time than collecting a mass amount of debt.”
The timing couldn’t have been better, according to Keeton. Just after the release of Dawg Grog, Bend was touted “Dogtown USA” in Dog Fancy magazine and ranked No. 4 “Beer Town USA,” by Examiner.com.
It was Bend’s love for dogs and beer that spawned Keeton’s Dawg Grog idea.
“I wanted to bring those two things together,” Keeton said.
He originally presented his business plan to Central Oregon Community College’s Small Business and Development Center where he received positive feedback from aspiring entrepreneurs and free business advice from professionals.
The initial thoughts of Maureen Quinn, SBDC advisor, were that the idea was “very unique” and would do well in Bend.
Bend is a part of a “dog culture,” according to Keeton, partly because of it’s demographics.
“It’s a young, very active lifestyle that we live here,” Keeton said.
Bend’s love for beer may be related to the quality of the water, explained Keeton, Bend has some of the best water in the nation. “and water is the most important ingredient in beer,” Keeton said.
Dawg Grog is made from “spent wort” from Boneyard Brewery, which is a byproduct of the brewing process.
“It’s the malted, sweet, liquid barley-water,” Keeton said. “They usually just pour that stuff down the drain, so I am recycling.”
Liquid glucosamine adds a “caramelly” flavor, Keeton said, which marries with the barley to produce a “sweet tasting cocktail.”
Dawg Grog is rich in vitamin b12, according to Keeton. It promotes healthy digestive and nervous systems as well as bone growth.
“It’s like a vitamin water,” Keeton said. “a vitamin energy drink for dogs.”
Keeton’s inspiration came from his “best friend” and official taste-tester, a seven and a half year old American Staffordshire Terrier named Lola Jane.
“We all have this common bond,” Keeton said. “It shows how connected humanity is with our longest known companions.”