What would appear to be a fraternity prank is instead a crime wave plaguing breweries and bars, costing businesses tens of millions of dollars annually. R&I reported this week that keg theft continues to frustrate business owners, and could eventually attribute to a spike in beer prices.
But it’s not what is in the inside that counts. The lifted kegs are being taken and sold for scrap metal as the demand for metal goods increase.
The Beer Institute, a lobbying group representing the brewing industry, estimated 300,000 kegs were stolen in 2007 tolling a loss of $50 million.
Brewers have been able to gain legislative attention by joining efforts with other impacted industries. Twenty-four states now have laws dedicated to scrap metal theft while Hawaii, Georgia, Ohio and West Virginia specifically mention kegs.
Sierra Nevada, the popular brewery renown for its pale ales located in Chico, CA., has gone through the lengths of etching bar codes onto their kegs.
The brewing industry employs (directly and non) 1.7 million Americans who earn over $54 billion in wages and benefits.