Alabama Brewer Tracks Down Keg Thieves

Money is tight all over the place. The economy is certainly having an effect on everyone, even on thieves it seems. Some enterprising thieves in Birmingham, Alabama, recently happened on a plan to cash in on metal through recycling aluminum. There’s good money to be made by recycling scrap aluminum and it seemed that Avondale Brewing Company was the mother lode for two men. They entered the brewery’s grounds and made off with about 40 aluminum beer kegs.

The suspects went to great lengths to retrieve the kegs as well. They cut several fences late that night so that they could reach the brewery’s property without being spotted from the road. During the small hours of the morning they made off with their ill-gotten loot, leaving a bewildered brewery owner to discover the loss the next morning.

The first thing that owner Coby Lake did was call the police, who had him fill out a report. However, Lake did not stop when the authorities left. He had a feeling he knew just where those kegs had gone and took action. Calling all the recycling yards in the city, Lake soon discovered one that said they’d had a load of beer kegs turned in – the thieves made $450 for their efforts. Lake did not waste any time in going to claim his stolen property. As a bonus, he was also able to provide the police with further details, like the men’s names, license numbers and even their address thanks to his investigative skills.

The theft was potentially devastating to the startup brewery. While the thieves might have earned less than $500 for their night’s illicit work, it would have cost the brewery more than $120 each to replace the lost kegs. That simple theft could have amounted to more than $4,000 in replacement costs. The return of the kegs was fortuitous in another way as well – the company is just about to start ramping up to fulltime production.

Avondale Brewing Company recently received all their permits and inspections necessary to begin commercial operations, moving away from the nano brewing model that allowed them to test and hone their recipes and brewing methods. Luckily for Lake and his operation, the kegs were located so the loss was not crippling to the small business as it could have been. Thanks to the owner’s dedication to bringing the thieves to justice, the brewery is still on track for a timely commercial debut.

Posted on July 1, 2011 .