Attn: Homebrewers. Keg Theft!

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by radiantdesigner, May 17, 2012.

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  1. radiantdesigner

    radiantdesigner Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2012 New Hampshire

    I know (or at least home) most of you are all honest homebrewers. It has just come to my attention that there was a theft at Smuttynose brewery of about 31 kegs. I am sure these will find themselves at either a scrappers yard or for sale on craigslist. PLEASE WARN PEOPLE that these are stolen!

    I have a member of our home brew club who works at Smutty and they have been great to us, supplying yeast and info and really pushing people to homebrew.... Lets return the favor and try to help them out!

    The article can be found here
  2. cracker

    cracker Disciple (300) May 2, 2004 Pennsylvania

    That sucks. Personally, I'm always suspect when I see posts from homebrewers asking how to cut off the top of a sanke keg etc.
  3. NHLakesBrewer

    NHLakesBrewer Initiate (0) Oct 6, 2008 New Hampshire

    I'll keep my eyes out around the Concord Area and if anyone in our club sees any of them we'll make sure they get back where they belong.
  4. telejunkie

    telejunkie Disciple (320) Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    Unfortunately there are way too many, even in the BA community, who think that kegs are not worth much to breweries and becomes their property because of a measly deposit. Not implying this would have been done by somebody in the BA community. I suspect they will turn up at some shady scrapyard. Happens a lot around here...not kegs necessarily, but parts, pipes, & other valuable stolen metal. Here in Southern Vt, everybody knows which scrapyard in Rutland to visit immediately after a theft.
    Will keep eyes out around here on craig's list and such.
  5. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (311) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    i was under the impression that fencing kegs was very hard to do these days, though i guess that is not accurate. one or two might go missing here and there. but what scrap yard is taking in 31 kegs without any documentation? it's not like you can claim you found 31 kegs in your attic. and if you are a scrapper, you must know the police will be around. 31 kegs sounds more like somebody with knowledge. you can't put 31 kegs in the back of an F-150 in the middle of the night.

    anyone know if these are Microstar? who takes the loss in this case?
  6. telejunkie

    telejunkie Disciple (320) Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    Suppose to be extremely hard to fence...not to say they don't have a way. Locally there was a large amount of propane tanks stolen from a distributor...only to turn up a few days later at a scrapyard. Story I heard from the owner of the propane company was that the guy at the scrapyard bought them no questions asked. That was after the scrapyard owner had denied that he had seen any recently in a phone call the previous day. Propane owner had to show up at the scrapyard.
    Where there is a will, there is a way...
  7. DNuggs

    DNuggs Aspirant (281) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

  8. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,620) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

  9. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (2,286) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Beer Trader

    I used to manage a recycling facility that bought some metals. We were required to get ID from everyone, and to notify police of suspicious people. That said, we resold high value metals to 3 different places, and one of those places would definitely take anything they got from anyone, and 30 seconds after buying an aluminum keg, it would be in the shredder, and the evidence gone. Everyone here should keep an eye out for sure, but the likelihood is that aluminum is on its way to China already.
  10. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,620) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

  11. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (311) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    same as anything. with a receipt.
    like a Patek Philippe. without a receipt, in Philadelphia it's worth $50.
  12. cracker

    cracker Disciple (300) May 2, 2004 Pennsylvania

  13. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,620) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Supporter Subscriber

    You mean you ask the seller to show you his receipt before he issues you one? It's effective, but not very practical. Perhaps you have all the receipts for every item you own, just in case you wanted to sell it, but I'm guessing this is not true for most of us. I could be accused of selling stolen goods for every item I've ever sold on craig's list because I just don't keep receipts for everything. And then there is the issue of buying stuff w/o face-to-face transaction, i.e., on-line, with no opportunity to see a receipt. It seems like one must assume the worst of the seller in these circumstances.

    PS: I see you are in Ithaca, "where the sun sometimes goes." Used to live there. Dreary winters, indeed.
  14. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (311) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    i agree that nobody has all of the receipts for everything they own. but if you show up with 31 kegs it is reasonable to ask how you got them. i mean, if you sell one XBox on craigslist, fair enough. if you have 31 XBox's to sell, that is a problem. it doesn't add up. especially at a scrap yard, which is exactly where one would expect to go to destroy evidence. this is why i think it is someone with inside knowledge. they must have known how to get at the kegs and have a willing buyer.

    i have scrapped well over a hundred excavated USTs in years gone by, and contrary to what most people might think, the scrappers i have worked with are all really genuine people. they want a receipt for an old UST, so we write a note on letterhead that says who we are and where it's from. they can easily do the same for kegs. that's been my experience.
  15. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aspirant (294) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Most breweries will make it plainly obvious that they've decommissioned a keg, either by using a grinder to buff off their logo (if it's stamped in), spray paining an obvious mark over their logo (if it's a sticker or painted logo), drilling a couple holes in the top, or something similar. Frankly, unless you're buying it straight from the brewery, it's probably a safe bet that it's stolen.
    pweis909 likes this.
  16. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Initiate (0) May 11, 2007 Minnesota

    Or Sabco, mine is a Latrobe keg X-ed out.
  17. maltmaster420

    maltmaster420 Aspirant (294) Aug 17, 2005 Oregon
    Beer Trader

    Good point. Speaking of Sabco, have you seen their new "select sankey" kegs? There's a removable clamp surrounding the coupler, and if you depressurize the keg and unscrew the cap there's a 4 inch port. Seems like a great way to dry hop directly in the keg.

    Beejay likes this.
  18. telejunkie

    telejunkie Disciple (320) Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    Just want to make clear, that although my post does indeed look like it is smearing scrapyard owners, that was never my intention. Pretty much every industry has it's list of shady dealers & peddlers, from the stock market to beer brewers. My point is that the thieves just need to know the right one...
    I don't have any keggles, but have always been annoyed with those hb'ers who think that their $20 deposit on the keg in effect "bought" them the keg. Obviously nowadays rules are changing to favor the breweries, but way too many have been illegally converted to keggles out of ignorance and disregard.
  19. tprokop7

    tprokop7 Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2006 Massachusetts

    Where did smutty get 31 aluminum kegs?
    doobliebop likes this.
  20. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Initiate (0) May 11, 2007 Minnesota

    I think we found our head detective on this one, that only took 18 replies.
    doobliebop likes this.
  21. htomsirveaux

    htomsirveaux Poo-Bah (1,611) Feb 8, 2002 Texas
    Beer Trader

    What's a UST?
  22. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (311) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Underground Storage Tank. used to be the we'd make enough cash at the scrap yard to buy a case. now they are worth $60, $100 depending on size. so no beer. cash goes to the bossman. the man has got us by the balls no doubt.
  23. teal

    teal Initiate (77) May 3, 2012 Wisconsin

    On the ebay listing - I thought AB never sold cooperage - so perhaps a polite note to the lising party about the probability of selling stolen kegs?
  24. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,304) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Current bid $51 plus $70 shipping- can't you buy a full ½ barrel keg of Bud and put down a keg deposit cheaper than that?
  25. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Initiate (0) May 11, 2007 Minnesota

    You could also legally buy an empty used keg from Sabco for less.
  26. epk

    epk Initiate (146) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    But then you have to drink it. :stuck_out_tongue:

    Only a serious note, 1/2 kegs of Bud are up there, around $90 per (at least that's what I'm seeing online)? You could do as mnstorm says and even get it already converted (probably for a little more).
  27. bugdoc

    bugdoc Aspirant (208) Apr 4, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    Offtopic, but sly Trading Places reference? (I read that post in my head with Bo Diddley's voice...:sunglasses:)
    HoptimusMax1mus likes this.
  28. OldStyleCubFan

    OldStyleCubFan Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2005 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I will worry about keg theft and how hard it is on a brewery when brewers start requiring deposits or CC large enough to replace the keg. If the keg a stainless keg is worth $150 to replace and they are only charging a $50 deposit with NO RECOURSE, don't cry about people not returning the kegs. Brewers have setup a bad system & complain it's broke. They can fix it. Hell, brewers could make money anytime a kegs is lost if they charged a deposit or recourse greater than the replacement value. I can't think of any other item I can rent where the owner has no recourse if I dont return it and they let me 'rent' if for 1/3 the value.

    In the case of smutty, they dont sound like stainless so I doubt homebrewers will run into them. I'm sure they were 'recycled'.
  29. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (311) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    nice rant. a brewery sells beer to a distributor. the distributor sells beer to the rest of us. that is how it works 99 times out of 100. brewers don't "set up the system".

    you mean like a car? you put down a $25,000 deposit? God Bless You.

    the point you are making is something called "blaming the victim". look it up. you are the kind of person that is going to make the rest of us fork over $200 because you can't be trusted. do us a favor and don't buy rent any kegs. thanks.

    also, these are aluminum kegs. perhaps a two tiered deposit system is in order. multiple tiers for those 1/4, 1/2, sixtels etc... i don't know. just running with it.
  30. epk

    epk Initiate (146) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    No, it's just another case of jerks ruining for everyone else. I've seen the keg deposits rise in the time I've been drinking once already. Deposit or not, who wants to front that much. Do you really want to pay $300 for a keg?

    How about some sort of waiver? Liquor stores check licenses, take names, and make you sign a waiver that if you don't return it, you must pay the full cost. The biggest problem with that is that a timeframe would have to be established (and I know my mom has had a keg of yuengling sitting in her fridge for months now).
  31. mnstorm99

    mnstorm99 Initiate (0) May 11, 2007 Minnesota

    How is this rent? You get your deposit back if you return the keg. If you keep the keg for the $50 deposit, it became a purchase without an agreement between both parties.
  32. OldStyleCubFan

    OldStyleCubFan Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2005 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Wow..some of you miss the point & I got some BMs as well...the key is NO RECOURSE

    When I rent a car, I need a CC and I'm signing a document that says if I dont return the car in # of days, they charge my card, etc. If I never return it, they have other recourse. When I buy a keg, the owner of the keg has ZERO record that its in my possession and ZERO recourse especially since it's been to the distributor and to the store selling the keg.

    The brewers have made bad deals with the distributors & retailiers. The distributors and retailers aren't held accountable for the kegs. Most retailers just charge whatever the distributor charges them for a keg deposit. The store has no risk if you dont return it. Heck, some retailers charge more than the distributor charges so the retailers make money when kegs aren't returned.

    Brewers allow distributors to control keg loss and they don't hold them accountable. If a distributor had to replace kegs at 110% of the replacement value & provide accurate statements about the exact inventory of kegs AND reconcile the losses each month a brewer would never lose a dime on a keg.

    This is why I don't feel for brewers when they complain about keg losses.....they need to hold distributors accountable.
    GreenKrusty101 likes this.
  33. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (311) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    look, people are going to continue to bust your balls. i'll give you the benefit of the doubt, it happens.

    one, these kegs were stolen at the brewery. your whole premise, while flawed, is not even applicable.

    two, it is not the breweries fault, the distributors fault or my fault that people commit crime. the purpose of a deposit is not to prevent people from breaking the law (although in your view every third person is a thief). prison is supposed to do that. a deposit is to make the owner whole should you become careless or forget the time.

    three, while you may not be able to think of anything you borrow or rent that does not inlcude a 100% deposit, anyone else can think of dozens. DVDs, cars, tile saws etc...

    four, come on! it's the brewers fault and they shouldn't complain... or it's the distributors fault and the brewers allow it... but the asshole who stole the peroperty gets no mention at all. really?

    let's not even get into the dozens of different State laws that require a deposit of a set amount, or the registration with a tag, or both.
  34. epk

    epk Initiate (146) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    I get what you are saying, but I don't think a price hike on the deposit should be passed down to the consumer - which is exactly what will happen, probably driving down keg sells to be honest. If contracts could help, that's the way to go. That I wouldn't mind passing down to the consumer.

    The following is conjecture but I don't think small brewers have that sort of clout unforunately. Distributors seem to hold a lot of power thanks to the 3-teir system. If a microbrewery informed them that they would be held liable for lost kegs, a big distributor could probably say, fine, we don't need any of your kegs, and move on to the next craft brewery to fill out their portfolio.
  35. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,352) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Exactly. Criminals who steal kegs are just a symptom of a broken system, and should not be held responsible for their actions.
  36. marquis

    marquis Crusader (744) Nov 20, 2005 United Kingdom (England)

    IF you pay a deposit on anything such as a keg or a propane cylinder(bottle) you do NOT become the owner and this is usually made clear.
    Theft was quite a problem here for a while, particularly when aluminium ones were still used.Return of kegs and casks is a bit of a problem for smaller breweries.They are all colour coded and it's quite common for delivery people to recognise used kegs from nearby breweries and pick them up for them.Many pubs have dozens of empties stacked outside from a whole array of brewers.
  37. jivex5k

    jivex5k Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    Basically, it's a dick move.
  38. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (721) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    The alleged stolen kegs were stolen from the brewery itself...probably an inside job.
  39. slvrmon82

    slvrmon82 Devotee (474) Dec 4, 2007 Delaware
    Beer Trader

    sounds like someone forgot to lock up the kegs that night!
  40. doobliebop

    doobliebop Initiate (71) Dec 24, 2010 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Yup. Take, for example, one of the stores near my old home. You can return kegs up to 2 months after you put your deposit down on them when you return the keg with a receipt. After two months or without a receipt? You can't get your money back, you can only use them to not have to pay a deposit for your next keg. Fine if you have a kegerator, but if you throw a party over the summer once a year or something, you're SOL. These end up on CL all the damn time... great for homebrewers with questionable morals. Shitty for breweries.
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