Keg Theft


According to data gathered by the Beer Institute, each year over 350,000 kegs are lost, totaling more than $50 million in financial loss to brewers and beer importers. With the average keg deposit ranging from $10 to $50 and the value of new kegs at more than $130, it’s clear how thieves stand to profit.

Beer Institute Position

The Beer Institute, in partnership with our members and other beer industry allies, has worked over the past two years to combat this problem, several industry trade groups are banding together to educate their members and their customers about the dangers of keg theft and how best to prevent it.

First, everyone must understand that kegs are not the property of distributers, retailers or consumers – they are owned by the brewers and importers. Many brewers imprint or paint their logos on the kegs to make it harder for anyone to pass them off as their own. Brewers also have policies to not sell kegs once they are retired, making it easier to identify stolen kegs.

Restaurant and tavern owners also have a role to play. Securing kegs in their possession will not only limit thieves’ supply, but maintain the supply for brewers. When supply of kegs is greater, the prices fall. So by securing kegs, restaurant and tavern owners actually are helping themselves.

In addition to these simple steps, we will also continue to pursue legislation at the state and local level, such as increasing the cost of deposits to encourage the safe return of kegs. And we will continue to work with law enforcement to crack down on keg theft.

From brewers to wholesalers to retailers to customers, keg thieves and their enablers cause everyone to suffer. But by educating our members and promoting vigilance, we can effectively put a kink in the line of keg theft.

Additional Resources

Keg Theft Letter to Ebay, Inc.

The Beer Institute and the Brewer's Association has asked Ebay, Inc. to stop facilitating the sale of stolen kegs. To learn more, download full letter below.


Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2013

Click here to learn more about S.394 - the Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2013, introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) in the 113th Congress.

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