Brewery (Industry) Question: How to handle stolen kegs?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by YardmanFTB, Sep 24, 2013.

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  1. rgordon

    rgordon Crusader (746) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I was driving down a side street the other day and spotted 5 kegs in a pile of trash. Looks as if the house was vacated quickly by a messy lot of college boys. I dutifully loaded the kegs on board and dropped them off to a restauranter friend to return. I don't know if he got a deposit or just returned them- the kegs were all from different brewers and wholesale companies. I don't know if the empties were stolen, consumed and deposit forfeited, or what. Does anyone think that there might have been a better couse of action? Fuel tanks for dune buggies?
  2. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    Normally I agree with you. But if you'll site one case where someone was charged with stealing a keg after not returning it and forfeiting their deposit I'll concede. Otherwise I'm not going to argue with someone that compares the incidentals deposit on a rental car to a keg deposit.

    If there was even a remote chance of legal action every single person would return their kegs.
  3. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,306) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Not returning the keg is not the illegal act - so, obviously I can't cite such a case. The criminal action, both in the OP and noted on the links I posted, is attempting to sell the keg that one does not legally own despite having paid a deposit:
    A deposit left for the use of a loaned/rented item is still just a deposit, regardless of the amount charged, or the value of the item.
  4. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,318) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Who do you think ends up paying for the kegs? The consumer!
  5. TheLostGringo

    TheLostGringo Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2011 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    They put a $20,000 deposit on your card?
    tarawho likes this.
  6. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (400) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    the Institute of Scrap recyclers may think so, but the problem then becomes one of local scrap yards.
    They will pay for anything metal that comes through their doors - well, most of them, judging by stories I hear all the time about materials being stolen for scrap. Manhole lids, for Dog's sake - those are stolen all the time for scrap. My brother worked in construction, and more than once he came in a morning and found multiple homes torn up for the copper wire. If the scrap yards were held accountable for materials that came in, that sort of thing may stop. As it is, what comes in is gone.
  7. JeremyDanner

    JeremyDanner Aspirant (236) Dec 20, 2005 Missouri

    100% incorrect. Forfeiting a deposit does not equal purchasing the keg. An unreturned keg is stolen property plain and simple. There is absolutely zero wiggle room on this.
    Bmore_Brew likes this.
  8. DrewLikesBeer

    DrewLikesBeer Disciple (328) Jul 16, 2013 Florida

    FWIW Hops is a brew-pub chain and they still have a few locations in other states I believe...but they closed down in Florida at least 5 years ago or longer. The ones around Orlando closed down 8+ years ago. They all went pretty quick, so I easily see how someone shows up after a weekend party to return a keg and the place is shuttered. Also to consider is that the guy didn't get the opportunity to get his deposit back (regardless of original intent) so as it sits I see it as his property to do with as he sees fit.
  9. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

    Right, what I said was forfeiting the deposit is the last true recourse you have in the recovery of the keg. I also never mentioned the legality of reselling, I only spoke of people that keep kegs.
  10. Hanzo

    Hanzo Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2012 Virginia

  11. JeremyDanner

    JeremyDanner Aspirant (236) Dec 20, 2005 Missouri

    Aha. Understood.
  12. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    Probably. On the other hand theft might be something that would be covered by insurance, in which case you want a police report.

    Also the police might find the missing keg just as a matter of luck. In a case like that I think having a filed police report would make it a lot easier to get it back.
  13. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    Maybe not the full value of the car, but I think it was a significant amount (probably $500-$1000) to cover any repairs that might be needed (or at least any kind of insurance deductible).
  14. kelvarnsen

    kelvarnsen Devotee (401) Nov 30, 2011 Ontario (Canada)

    Would they really lose that much money though? Out of all of a brewery's sales I imagine the amount that goes to consumers that are buying single kegs and are paying cash (and aren't willing to put up a credit card for deposit) is pretty small. Those people might be scared off by having to pay a $100 plus deposit. But I imagine most of a brewery's sales is first and foremost bars, then bottling (and maybe growlers). If someone isn't willing to put up the money or a card, then maybe they aren't someone you want to do business with, since as I and others have said, all you have to do is put an authorization on the card that doesn't become a charge unless the keg isn't returned.
  15. DrinkingCraft

    DrinkingCraft Initiate (0) Aug 22, 2012 Indiana

    Sorry to hear man, that's absolutely pitiful but I think the solution moving forward is simply an increase in the down deposit. $30 is very low. The seller (thief) is a turd.
    Bmore_Brew likes this.
  16. TheLostGringo

    TheLostGringo Initiate (0) Dec 7, 2011 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    Of course, I was just kidding. I have rented a car or 2 in my life.
  17. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    I'm liking this idea from the Trouble Brewing article that was linked--a deterrent in the size of the deposit, but a small incentive that makes it easier to swallow.

    "Victory Brewery, a craft brewer in Downingtown, Pa., has gone even further. It demands a $30-per-keg deposit from wholesalers; retail customers must charge a $90-per-keg deposit on a credit card. When they return the keg, however, they get $95 back. “Some of our customers balked at this [deposit] and accused us of speculating
    with their money,” says Bill Covaleski, Victory’s brewmaster and president. “We said, ‘Fine. You’re going to get a 5.5 percent return on your investment in this keg.’”
    RockAZ likes this.

    RBCORCORAN Aspirant (239) May 18, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    on ebay listings there is a report item link. USE it and you will get a drop down menu , go from there. You can also look up the sellers info and or use contact seller. Explain that the keg is yours and to avoid criminal charges it should be returned a.s.a.p.
    option 2 purchase keg so that you can get sellers name and address and then press charges.
  19. ao125

    ao125 Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2010 Virginia

    There's still one here in Alexandria, VA. Their food is kinda crappy though. It's like Ruby Tuesdays, but they make their own beer. Nothing to write home about.
  20. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,794) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Breweries make money by selling beer. If they don't have a keg, they can't fill a keg. Every keg that's not promptly returned is a sale lost. If a brewery sells a keg for $100, and they can't fill that keg 100 times, that's $10,000 gone. On one keg. Multiply by the number of kegs. Maybe it's not a lot of money to you, but I bet it is to most breweries.
  21. DougC123

    DougC123 Devotee (477) Aug 21, 2012 Connecticut

    That assumes they don't replace it at a cost of $150 and they don't have enough to keep the supply chain full. Unfortunately they have to figure keg losses into their model, but if they didn't and they just stayed in business without restocking then your model would be correct.
  22. sibhuskyx

    sibhuskyx Initiate (144) Jun 2, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    If the guy is local I say just offer to buy it, show up and take it. Then give the guy the deposit amount. Then increase your deposit or put a hold on credit cards for the value of the kegs when they are purchased.
  23. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (4,794) Sep 24, 2007 Washington
    Beer Trader

    As I mentioned upthread, it's hard to get kegs. There's only a couple manufacturers, and there's a long lead time between ordering and receiving. A brewery opened in my town last year, and they wanted to buy 500 kegs. They were told they could get 100 right away, because they just getting started, but that the company was parsing them to everybody in small batches, so that everyone would at least get some. This why a lot of breweries use a service like MicroStar. MicroStar buys the keg, and rents them to breweries, the brewers then send 'em back, where MS services them. Wash, rinse, repeat.
  24. RockAZ

    RockAZ Disciple (371) Jan 6, 2009 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    Interesting, MicroStar is a service? Hmm, there are a lot of things about that business model that make sense for solving or at least reducing the impact of this issue for a lot of brewers that send their kegs far out of state.
  25. Tashbrew

    Tashbrew Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2007 California

    Actually, in many states Scrap yards are required to verify ownership of kegs before purchase and the folks seeking to sell get hassled. 'Tweekers' don't have the patience or composure to deal with it.
    The thieves are either converting the kegs into 'keggles' or selling them on Ebay. I think selling kegs on Ebay is a great way to get busted as the brewery's marking are usually clearly visible.
  26. sandiego67

    sandiego67 Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2008 California

    Most people don't seem to care if the kegs are from Bud, Miller or Coors.
  27. ParkerAE

    ParkerAE Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2013 California

    You could always cut the top off and use it as a pot to homebrew in. I know some people who have done this.
  28. Lare453

    Lare453 Meyvn (1,322) Feb 1, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    I was going to say it was dealing in stolen property but your point is valid and I totally agree.
    Drootz likes this.
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