Across the country, crooks are snatching stainless steel kegs in alleyways behind bars and breweries or not returning them after keggers to sell for scrap metal.
The trend comes as the stainless scrap price has more than doubled in the last five years, making an empty 18-pound keg worth more than $13, according to price data for steel scrap sold in Chicago.
Hawaii actually passed legislation making beer-keg theft a crime. They may not have needed the law since existing theft laws probably would have covered it. But just for good measure, they passed it anyway.
Pacific Business News reported back in May:
Hawaii beer wholesalers reported the theft of more than 350 beer kegs last year, up sharply from the 30 stolen in 2006. Nationwide, approximately 300,000 of the stainless steel containers are stolen annually.
“This is a huge problem,” Tim Lyons, legislative liaison for Anheuser-Busch Cos., testified in favor of the law. “It has just escalated beyond any reasonable proportion.”
“Metal keg theft is a growing problem because they can be redeemed for fast cash at scrap dealerships,” added Lance Hastings, Western regional director for state government affairs for Miller Brewing Co.