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StrongArm
11-18-2012, 10:04 PM
Hey all,

I saw a post for kegs for sale in the classifieds that were stamped with a brewery name. Clearly if I were to buy them and distribute my beer to bars and stores in them it would be marked with another brewery not mine (at least the stamped portion).

This got me to thinking...I know there a lot of kegs floating around out there in distribution that are marked with a brewery other than the one that the beer is from.

My question is what has been your experience with this, especially if you are a small (sub 500-1000bbl) brewery. I have a few kegs from some of the big breweries floating around in my warehouse, what would happen, if anything, if I put them into distribution.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Bierkoenig
11-18-2012, 10:20 PM
If you have kegs from other breweries "floating around" your warehouse you should return them to their owners, otherwise you're committing theft. I bet the owners of those kegs would like to have them back regardless of how big, corporate, or "non-craft" they may be or perceived to be.

When you buy used kegs from another brewery, you destroy or obscure their embossing by grinding it off, welding beads or plates over it, dimpling it, or some other method which removes the previous owner's mark.

Larry Doyle
11-19-2012, 06:53 AM
Let's make believe I'm a small brewery. I buy 500 new kegs for $100 apiece. I fill them with beer and ship them to outlets, charging a deposit that is far less
than my purchase price. The kegs are emptied and 500 kegs are returned to me and I refill them. Then I notice that 6 of those kegs are "foreign" kegs with my beer in them.

You are telling me I am guilty of theft if I reuse the kegs and don't return them to to their owner(s). I say HOGWASH. I'm gonna slap a paper label over whatever needs to be covered and ship the kegs. That's what an extremely large beer company does and that's good enough for me.

MPKill
11-19-2012, 07:20 AM
I don't want another brewery using our kegs. So I wouldn't use someone else's. When I get a keg in from another brewery, I simply return it to our distributor and make sure I get the credit back.

We try to clearly mark our kegs (chime, paint, sticker, etc.). So normally we can pick out a keg that isn't ours before we clean it and fill it.


Cheers,
Mike

Bierkoenig
11-19-2012, 11:23 AM
You are telling me I am guilty of theft if I reuse the kegs and don't return them to to their owner(s).

Absolutely. I'm not licensed in Texas or familiar with it's statutes, but in both jurisdictions in which I've practiced law, that would be theft. Think about it this way: If you loan a car to a friend and they bring back some other car that you know is not your car but you start driving it around anyway, that is theft (may be called theft by receiving or larceny depending on the jurisdiction).

Larry Doyle
11-19-2012, 11:54 AM
Its built into the supply chain that some breweries will wind up with some foreign kegs. For every foreign keg there's a lost keg out in the great unknown. If I have a foreign keg must I give it back to the original owner,ask for the purchase price or ask for the deposit amount?

biosonik
11-19-2012, 12:21 PM
Large breweries sell off their old stock when they change keg styles too. They don't have to be stolen ...
Use what you can.

But when cooperage is returned to you that is not yours, I'd bring it up with your distributor, and return them. Because if they are giving you someone else's kegs, I'm sure they are giving yours away too. Also, you have no idea what condition they are in.

Kev7555
11-28-2012, 10:44 AM
Don't get caught using Anheuser/Busch kegs.

LuskusDelph
11-28-2012, 10:50 AM
Absolutely. I'm not licensed in Texas or familiar with it's statutes, but in both jurisdictions in which I've practiced law, that would be theft. Think about it this way: If you loan a car to a friend and they bring back some other car that you know is not your car but you start driving it around anyway, that is theft (may be called theft by receiving or larceny depending on the jurisdiction).

I agree. It's theft, plain and simple (not to mention being a just plain tacky practice).

monkeybrewer
11-28-2012, 11:34 AM
Why would any brewer bare the responsibility of another brewers kegs? Should the brewer pay to have the keg shipped back? Rent enough warehouse space to hold them until the brewery who owns the keg pays to have them shipped back? Even the time taken to contact another brewery? Why would this be the responsibility of the brewer who received the errant keg? Fill it and get it back into the distributors chain and the problem should resolve itself. That being said I haven't had to do this (we're just a small brewpub)...just my opinion. I do know of one large craft brewer that sells (or gives away...not quite sure) any random kegs returned to the brewery to a local scrap guy who does as he sees fit. Just curious about the "Don't let AB find out" statement. Have you heard of trouble caused by them and wrongly returned kegs?
Cheers

yap
11-28-2012, 11:50 AM
I look at it as Karma. If somebody ended up with one of my kegs I would hope they would try to get it back to me. I'm not saying they should rent a truck and drive it to me personally, but they could give me a call and we could see if we have a distributor in common to try and route them back. If it's not worth my trouble to get it back then I can just tell them to keep it or whatever. In the end it shouldn't take but a few minutes to make a call and then stick it back on a truck..

I just did this the other day for somebody. Took a total of 5 minutes out of my day and the guy will get HIS PROPERTY back. The statement to just fill it and put it back in the supply chain so it can "resolve itself" is BS. All you are really saying is "its not my problem now" and passing the buck.

As a very small brewer I can't afford to buy more kegs every other week because some of my float is running around in the market with other peoples beer in them. we should be helping each other out when possible in my opinion... like i said...karma...

Wayne1
11-28-2012, 12:19 PM
Just curious about the "Don't let AB find out" statement. Have you heard of trouble caused by them and wrongly returned kegs?
Cheers

Please look over this story from Calfkiller Brewing.

Calfkiller story of AB kegs (http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=356551441067914&id=106217596101301)

Lot of interesting comments after the Calfkiller rant.

monkeybrewer
11-28-2012, 12:56 PM
After reading that FB post it only strengthens my opinion. He should sue AB for theft or charge them for the years of warehousing their lost kegs....I'm sure that would be easy :D Would be interesting to see if the local authorities would do anything about it...to help the craft brewer mentioned in the FB post that is.
Cheers

dberg
11-28-2012, 01:38 PM
After reading that FB post it only strengthens my opinion. He should sue AB for theft or charge them for the years of warehousing their lost kegs....I'm sure that would be easy :D Would be interesting to see if the local authorities would do anything about it...to help the craft brewer mentioned in the FB post that is.
Cheers

Most of the industry would disagree (http://www.beernet.com/publications_daily.php?id=2657)with you.

yap
11-28-2012, 01:53 PM
I was going to say almost the same thing (i even had a stolen car reference) but that article sums it up for me.....

dereknobleluke
11-29-2012, 07:08 AM
for me, its pretty easy.
I get back a load of kegs. as we unload them and clean them and fill them, there are ALWAYS other people's kegs mixed within.
I know what brands my distributor carries, so the next time they come down, if these "foreign kegs" are part of their distribution world, I send the empty keg back with them and get the deposit for it.
If these foreign kegs are sold by another distributor, I simply take it to a bar that has my beer and that foriegn beer on tap. I swap foreign keg empty for my keg empty (consulting with the bar owner of course...)
If these kegs are not sold within my area I call the brewer and ask them if they want me to ship their keg back to them. Any brewery has a FED EX account. EVERY BREWERY has extra cardboard boxes aroung
915.5 gallon kegs fit in boxes plastic cups are sold in...). I called up Sierra Blanca Brewing in Moriarty New Mexico last year. I told the nice lady I had one of her kegs. She asked how I got it. I told her my RI distributor gave it back to me. She was baffeled how her keg got out here...couldn't help her but offered to ship it back, at my expense, and when she got it, she could send me a check for the deposit and shipping charge. It cost $53 to ship. When it got there, she hand wrote me a check for $83 with a little note that really showed me how much she appreciated my morals and brewing comraderie regarding other's property. If EVERYONE followed this, it would be a great brewing world.....

monkeybrewer
11-29-2012, 08:20 AM
still seems like a lot of extra work for a brewery who can't keep a handle on their kegs or distributors...IMHO
Cheers

Larry Doyle
11-29-2012, 08:48 AM
I know that Miller accumulates AB kegs and ships them back to AB when they have a sizeable amount. Many of these kegs are discovered after they are filled so Miller also incurrs the loss of its beer. I don't know how the money works.

I also have been told by knowledgeable people that AB merely slaps a paper AB label on foreign kegs and ships them out. If this practice has changed or if I am wrong, let me know.

Alon
11-29-2012, 09:03 AM
So on a monthly or annual basis, what percentage of kegs are you loosing, say for a 1000-2000 bbl house?

Can you incur the loss of the keg from the distributor? How do you deal with them?

Thanks

Larry Doyle
11-29-2012, 09:22 AM
for me, its pretty easy.
I get back a load of kegs. as we unload them and clean them and fill them, there are ALWAYS other people's kegs mixed within.
I know what brands my distributor carries, so the next time they come down, if these "foreign kegs" are part of their distribution world, I send the empty keg back with them and get the deposit for it.
If these foreign kegs are sold by another distributor, I simply take it to a bar that has my beer and that foriegn beer on tap. I swap foreign keg empty for my keg empty (consulting with the bar owner of course...)
If these kegs are not sold within my area I call the brewer and ask them if they want me to ship their keg back to them. Any brewery has a FED EX account. EVERY BREWERY has extra cardboard boxes aroung
915.5 gallon kegs fit in boxes plastic cups are sold in...). I called up Sierra Blanca Brewing in Moriarty New Mexico last year. I told the nice lady I had one of her kegs. She asked how I got it. I told her my RI distributor gave it back to me. She was baffeled how her keg got out here...couldn't help her but offered to ship it back, at my expense, and when she got it, she could send me a check for the deposit and shipping charge. It cost $53 to ship. When it got there, she hand wrote me a check for $83 with a little note that really showed me how much she appreciated my morals and brewing comraderie regarding other's property. If EVERYONE followed this, it would be a great brewing world.....

Shouldn't you be charging the full price of the keg rather than merely the deposit amount? If you pay full price for new kegs it seems to me that you are taking a big loss every time you "return" a foreign keg and receive only a deposit amount.

dereknobleluke
11-29-2012, 04:01 PM
for me, my swapping of my shells within the trade is easy--I am already going to the accounts anyway. Why get caught up in the paper work?

As far as the "full price" vs "deposit price"--the lady paid me the shippnig cost plus the deposit cost. It was up to her if she wanted to spend the $83 to get her keg shipped from RI to New Mexico. But the keg was embossed. I also told her that if she didn't want to pay for getting her keg back I would pay her $60 for the keg. She wanted the keg back. So I shipped it, up front, and trusted that she would pay me back when it arrived. And she did. and Karma is good...

timbro81
11-29-2012, 07:50 PM
I've heard that the brewing industry is 99% asshole free. This seems like a pretty basic test to figure out where one stands.

Tim Brophy

lhall
11-30-2012, 07:00 AM
Larry Doyle, it's funny you made that claim that AB just slaps a sticker over other breweries' kegs and ships them back out. I would have said that was BS, because the last thing that AB would need is a lot of negative PR if such a thing actually happened.

And then I got a pallet of our Yazoo kegs back that were "lost" and ended up at a keg refurbishing company. I paid them the deposit on each and paid for the freight to get them back. And look what I found:

That's a Bud Light sticker and that big barcode is not ours - it reads "ABI - 8017C - 015". So you were right, our clearly marked keg had a Bud Light sticker and a ABI barcode slapped on it.

yap
11-30-2012, 07:18 AM
I guess ABI falls into the "asshole" category that timbro was mentioning...

Linus, any thoughts to calling them and yelling at them or is it not worth the trouble...

a10t2
11-30-2012, 08:06 AM
I guess ABI falls into the "asshole" category that timbro was mentioning...

Linus, any thoughts to calling them and yelling at them or is it not worth the trouble...

But AB has what, probably a thousand or so distributors in the US alone? It's a guarantee that some of them are going to be bad eggs.

I'd wager the corporate office cracks down on this kind of thing when they find out about it. Receiving stolen goods is a crime in a lot of places, and whatever else you may think of AB, they have good lawyers.

Larry Doyle
11-30-2012, 08:19 AM
As Augie Busch and Emilio Interbev would probably say: "Do as we say, not as we do."

Most likely this practice has nothing to do with distributors. It happens at the brewery when filled, foreign kegs are found prior to shipping. Rather than remove the keg from the line or pallet and dump the beer they slap on a chintzy little label and send it on its way. I'd do the same thing.

monkeybrewer
11-30-2012, 08:24 AM
If everyone is doing it, is it really a problem?
Cheers

yap
11-30-2012, 08:32 AM
If everyone is doing it, is it really a problem?
Cheers


If everyone in your brewpub was stealing glassware from you everyday...would it really be a problem?

monkeybrewer
11-30-2012, 09:55 AM
If they were leaving glassware behind everyday as well...no it wouldn't be. I think that's the fair analogy...
Cheers

yap
11-30-2012, 10:40 AM
If they were leaving glassware behind everyday as well...no it wouldn't be. I think that's the fair analogy...
Cheers


what if they were taking your glassware and leaving you glassware with another brewpubs name on them so every time you got these "new" ones you had to scrape off the old name. and maybe the glassware they were leaving was a slightly different size or made of plastic instead of glass? maybe the glasses they are leaving are so dirty that it takes your kitchen 2-3 times as much work to clean them as your own glasses...none of this would get on your nerves after a while?

lets get real hypothetical for a moment. say you have 100 glasses and the brewpub down the street has 100 glasses. this "swapping" back and forth happens all the time but never exactly at a one for one rate every time. between the two of you there are still 200 glasses but the distribution is never exactly 50/50. next thing you know you only have twenty glasses and the other guy has 180. Sure the rest will eventually make their way back but that doesn't do you any good if on that day there are 30 people in your pub and only 20 glasses!

If i have 100 kegs and 10 of them get "lost" and other people fill them and put them back in the chain sure they may make it back to me eventually. but say in the meantime i end up with only 5 kegs of someone else's that I put back in the chain. I'm down 5 kegs but i've got beer that I need to get out the door....looks like i'm buying more kegs....

sure it all works out "in the end" but in the meantime i have to keep building up my float with additional keg purchases that i may not need.

unfortunately i think we are straying too far from the original post so i am going to leave the conversation at that...

Larry Doyle
11-30-2012, 11:12 AM
make me smart.
1. Am I right in assuming that the purchase price of a new keg is more than the deposit price?
2. If you ship,say, 100 full kegs to a distributor do you make sure you get 100 empties back?
3. If you inspect those 100 kegs and find 5 foreign kegs and ship those 5 kegs to their original owners and those owners pay you only the deposit price aren't you out the difference between original price and deposit price on those 5 kegs?

dberg
11-30-2012, 11:35 AM
make me smart.
1. Am I right in assuming that the purchase price of a new keg is more than the deposit price?
2. If you ship,say, 100 full kegs to a distributor do you make sure you get 100 empties back?
3. If you inspect those 100 kegs and find 5 foreign kegs and ship those 5 kegs to their original owners and those owners pay you only the deposit price aren't you out the difference between original price and deposit price on those 5 kegs?

Come on Larry, you were in the industry long enough to know that's not the way it works.

Larry Doyle
11-30-2012, 01:04 PM
Come on Larry, you were in the industry long enough to know that's not the way it works.
I was asking, not telling. I never worked in Shipping or Accounting. Why don't you tell me how it works?

BelgianBrews
11-30-2012, 01:39 PM
As Bierkonig said, if you use someone else's kegs as your own, you are committing theft. I am surprised and disappointed so many brewers think otherwise. Karma will catch up to you.

I don't distribute any of my beers, but where I previously worked we returned kegs to their rightful owners.

Linus, you should send that pic of your keg to several people at AB and ask if they have more of your kegs.

panadero
11-30-2012, 01:59 PM
Curious, the conversation is revolving around the producers, and leaving the distributor out. Is the distributor responsible for returning your kegs, and if they don't come back shouldn't they replace them? What is a timeframe before you assume you are out a keg? The three tier system leaves a lot to be desired.

Larry Doyle
11-30-2012, 02:10 PM
As Bierkonig said, if you use someone else's kegs as your own, you are committing theft. I am surprised and disappointed so many brewers think otherwise. Karma will catch up to you.

I don't distribute any of my beers, but where I previously worked we returned kegs to their rightful owners.

Linus, you should send that pic of your keg to several people at AB and ask if they have more of your kegs.

Once upon a time a brewer bought a whole truckload of brand new returnable long neck bottles. He was mighty proud of those bottles. They weren't scuffed or chipped and they didn't have any disgusting foreign objects in them. The brewer filled those bottles and shipped them out. Lo and behold when the bottles were returned to him he could tell immediately that these were not his nice, new bottles. These were scuffed and many were chipped.
Then he called the FBI and complained that somewhere, somehow someone has taken his nice new bottles and given him junky bottles. The FBI is still investigating. This happened in 1953.

dberg
11-30-2012, 02:38 PM
I was asking, not telling. I never worked in Shipping or Accounting. Why don't you tell me how it works?

Fair enough. But I've read your posts; you're a smart guy. So it's hard to believe you think you only send out a full keg after you get your keg returned. That works when you only own one keg. It makes it really hard to keep a draught line, however.

banjo
01-28-2013, 12:23 PM
The Brewers Association today launched a new site to help consumers, retailers, wholesalers and more reunite lost kegs with their home breweries. More information can be found in the below release and at www.KegReturn.com.