Due to social distancing restrictions, wineries and shops around the country have faced the daunting task of shifting their business models to delivery and/or curbside pickup. Luckily for one Maryland winery, help has come in the form of a dedicated delivery dog.
When Lori Yata, co-owner of Hagarstown’s Stone House Urban Winery learned that her business would be limited to carryout orders, she decided to enlist Soda Pup, her 11-year-old Brindle Boxer, to help fulfill customers’ orders.
As Yata told the Herald-Mail, Soda Pup was already a popular presence in the winery’s tasting room and shop, and she realized he would make an excellent delivery boy in addition to an unofficial mascot.
Now, any customer picking up their order is greeted by Soda Pup, who wears a saddle bag capable of holding up to four bottles of wine.
Besides customers being met by a friendly pooch, having Soda Pup deliver the wines comes with added health and safety bonuses. According to the World Health Organization, there is “no evidence” dogs can contract or spread Covid-19.
Since Soda Pup was deputized for delivery, business at Stone House has remained steady. First-time sales have even increased, thanks in part to the dog’s popularity, and some visitors have come just to get a photo with him.
But for anyone looking for Soda Pup to help them stock up on wine for the long haul, Yata offers a note of caution. “[A customer] asked if Soda could carry two cases of wine to his car. I told him no, Soda is too old for that.”
How could a good boy like this unwind after a long day of deliveries? There’s always dog beer.