Brewery adopts a cat

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) -- A brewery has a new employee, and that job just saved his life.

Last month, about 80 abandoned cats were going to be put down in Southern Illinois. Hospice Hearts saved them from a shed. They were given to shelters around the state, and many are still in need of homes. All except for one, who just landed a job at the Blind Pig.

He has a very important role to play. While it might be uncommon here in the U.S, the owner says, in England, a brewery cat is an essential part of the business.

Chris Knight was killing 3 to 4 mice every week, and they were costing him hundreds of dollars worth of ingredients. He wanted to hire someone to save him a buck. The he remembered Jessica Sempek, the founder of Hospice Hearts.

"When I contacted her and said, 'Can we get a brewery cat,' she said, 'You want two?' 'We don't want two. One's fine,'" Knight said.

He heard about the dozens of cats left for dead in Southern Illinois and decided this would be the Blind Pig's new hire.

"I knew this was the kitten I wanted to send," said Sempek.

She says he's a feral cat and shy around people, but eager to work.

"He wanted to make a very good first impression on his coworkers. He knows he's a little young for the job, so he wanted to dress up to gain their respect immediately."

For his first day on the job, he came strolling up, dressed to impress. The cat didn't get a nametag, but his coworkers are calling him "Brewster."

"So Brewster, we had a long chat yesterday, we tried on a number of ties, we wanted to do one that didn't clash with his fur," said Sempeck.

His coworkers showed him around and told him his one duty, to continue the success of the brewery.

"It's supposed to be working, but really, it is a serious problem. Every time a mouse gets into a bag of grain, we have to throw the grain away. Those are 55 pounds of grain. They cost a trillion dollars each," said Knight jokingly.


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