Meet the Maker -- Booze Dogs

We are excited to announce that Booze Dogs––an incredible line of delicious, inventive, liquor-infused bratwurst and burgers––are launching their latest product on Vices Reserve!

We sat down with Co-owners, Joe McGowen and Mr. Hughes (his loyal boxer/business partner) to talk about the company, the dogs (both four legged and edible), the means and methods for adding liquor to pork ... and every other burning question we had.

RV: Tell us why you were inspired you to start this company that marries booze and hot dogs.

JOE: How often do you open the fridge hoping for something new and different to suddenly appear? Or perhaps you are flat-out bored with the same basic flavor profiles? Booze Dogs understands this frustration and your desire to impress your friends and family with something truly delicious and interesting. An old friend and I were sitting on a couch in North Carolina, brainstorming crazy condiment ideas for his new hot dog cart in Miami, FL. I proposed injecting the hot dogs with booze.  He laughed it off. I thought to myself, “Why couldn’t I infuse three of my favorite things: a social drink, meat, and a good time?"

RV: Tell us about the actual infusion process … for example, what was your first attempt at creating one and how do you do it?

JOE: The infusion process has been the challenge for sure! When Mr. Hughes and I first began this journey, we actually tried injecting hot dogs with a syringe filled with bourbon. Let’s just say that did not provide the results we were looking for. Then there was a duration of time when I was grinding meat and pouring spirits in my kitchen with protein and booze going all over the cabinetry.

RV: That must have been a real high point in your life ...

JOE: My wife was not amused, and I confessed that my skills were not in the kitchen (which she already knew). Finally, I relented and began the pursuit of a co-packer who could help implement the formulations living in my head. We found the perfect partner, but I will leave the specifics or our current process as a mystery best kept between man and his best friend. 

RV: We cannot get enough of these hot dogs. How many products are there now?

JOE: Currently, we offer bratwurst, burgers, and hot dogs in flavors of bourbon, gin, and rum. We use real booze with no synthetic flavoring.  We plan to rollout new liquor-infused flavors like tequila, fireball, and more in the near future!

RV: Do you have a personal favorite?

JOE: Tough question. Honest answer is, like my children, I enjoy them all for their different personalities. However, I would say gin is the favorite for my wife and myself because it is the dark horse of the three. It is a proven concept to apply bourbon and rum in food, it is not so for gin. I hope the Prime Gin-ister line of products will establish gin’s usage in food as it is delightfully light and earthy with subtle hints of citrus.

RV: What’s the best seller?

JOE: Bourbon is top dog. No surprise there, as it is truly the American spirit of choice and the most established in other culinary applications like chicken, ribs, sauces, deserts, and baked goods.

RV: Tell us about the dog/donation component to the company?

JOE: Hughes, our rescued family boxer, exemplifies the life lived by my great-grandfather. A life “rescued” through his post WWI emigration from Hungary to the U.S. through Ellis Island. He was known for adventure, a Manhattan or cigar in hand, and an uncanny ability to never meet a stranger. Both Mr. Hughes and my grandfather share a rescue story and a knack for making friends. So, their stories are told to drive awareness of no-kill canine rescue efforts nationwide. We celebrate their shared love for rescued friendship by contributing a portion of proceeds to Best Friends Animal Society, who fiercely oversees programs to “save them all.”

RV: How do our members get their hands on some of your products for the next tailgate?

JOE: Vices Reserve has a great current offer that will delivery to your door step with dry-ice and free shipping. Year round, the most convenient source is a visit to

RV: What's next?

JOE: Booze Dogs has been online and growing since January, 2017. In the next year we plan to rollout meatballs, sliders, and other meat types infused with bourbon, gin, and rum. Afterwards, Mr. Hughes hopes to take some time off. 

RV: That's certainly fair. We thank you so much and cannot wait for the next barbecue!