The Beautiful Brew Cat of Sanctuary Brewing

A winning combination of pussy and beer.

Lisa McDonald and Joe Dinan moved to the area with two goals: to rescue animals and to brew beer. They found a melding of these two passions in Sanctuary Brewing, which they opened in winter of 2015. The brewery has offered an unforeseen way to help one particular animal. Two weeks into having grain on-site they realized mice would be an issue. Lisa had researched the option of distillery cats and their efficacy as responsible, clean and environmentally friendly pest control.

Enter Suds. Suds was a part of the Working Cats Program at the Asheville Humane Society. In Lisa’s mind a brewery is a perfect place for a working cat. The Working Cats Program is intended to home cats who would be unsuitable as house cats, but still have much to offer. Many working cats in the area staff barns and other outdoor areas where they are exposed to the elements and an array of other potential dangers. At Sanctuary, Lisa can make sure Suds is safe every evening at closing.

How would Suds rate Sanctuary Brewing as an employer? She has a great time. Having the run of a brewery and lots of people to love is a social cat’s dream. And Suds is social. When Lisa talked to Sud’s foster mom she was told that Suds was a bit reticent and anti-social. However, when Suds got to Sanctuary Lisa’s thought was “did they give me the wrong cat?,” Suds was almost immediately at ease and personable. Suds owns the place. She socializes with guests, checks out what they are drinking and their beer pairings, and sometimes helps herself to their water.

As a working cat, is she doing her job? “There are no more mice,” Lisa tells us. Aside from Suds’ great professional success, Lisa says it is so nice to come to work every day and see her face, she calls Suds a “little bit of living joy”. Having met her we couldn't agree more.

If you would like information on the Working Cat Program please contact the Asheville Humane Society at And go visit Suds, Lisa and Joe at Sanctuary Brewing, the brewery offers craft beer and vegan food options in Hendersonville, NC.

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