Small Brewer Says Budweiser Is Bullying Him About Old Kegs

A small-time beer operation in Tennessee says it’s the subject of some big-time hassling from Budweiser — all of it over a bunch of old empty beer kegs.

In a lengthy post on the Facebook page for Calfkiller Brewing Company, the company explains its side of the story, saying that — like many smaller businesses — it has to save money where it can. Part of that savings comes from buying used kegs that can then be filled up and shipped out full of beer-y goodness.

Calfkiller says it purchased kegs wherever it could: “unclaimed freight auctions, breweries that have closed, or keg companies that sell new, used, and refurbished kegs… Everything from website sales to store fronts in public with huge signs by the road for everyone to see. LEGIT businesses!”

But about a month ago, alleges Calfkiller, things went sour:

That’s when the “Budweiser keg police” began trying to strong arm the little guy… So the big monopoly Budweiser has started walking in to accounts, and simply taking the little guys kegs! FLIRTING WITH SLANDER they have told business owners that Calfkiller had stole the kegs…

[Calfkiller] contacted distribution to try and resolve the issue, but were lied to, ignored, and simply not dealt with.

Budweiser has said they have never sold a keg. Really??? How can they be purchased from places by the truck load then??? They also informed Calfkiller that it had come down from corporate, and was out of the local distributions hands. Although Calfkiller found it flattering that the big dogs even knew who they were they also found it highly unlikely that the beer giant cared that Calfkiller had a few 20 year old kegs of theirs.

According to the post, when Calfkiller finally got a hold of someone in Budweiser HQ in St. Louis, it was told “we know nothing about this.”

Regardless, we hope the buzz surrounding this story gets back to St. Louis and someone at HQ looks into whether or not its regional offices are using the company name to possibly intimidate smaller breweries.

[via Lautering.com]

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  1. axhandler1 says:

    Can’t the brewer just call the police when these guys show up for the kegs and ask them to prove ownership of said kegs?

    • Jawaka says:

      Really. Just press charges for theft.

    • Mr. Spy says:

      I wish that was how it worked, but I get the impression that a business pulling this stunt is basically in the free and clear. I have no faith that the police will press charges on Budweiser.

      • JJFIII says:

        Actually, the person who purchased them bought stolen merchandise, which would be a crime. If the kegs say Budweiser on them and he is a brewer, he KNOWS these are property of AB. In most instances, the brewer sells you BEER, not the keg, The keg is a vehicle which is to be returned. You do not own it. Try having a graduation party and not return the keg you had for the party.

        • Sneeje says:

          Exactly how are you concluding the brewer knows the keg is stolen? For example, a radio show near where I live puts out easter kegs for people to find every year and even discussed how they bought them for not very much money. When I renovated my basement, the bar decoration store I went to had empty, used kegs for sale.

          • Gollum says:

            Yeah Elliott Rules. Go Easter Kegs!

          • BurtReynolds says:

            As some other comments point out, I think Budweiser is claiming that it never “surrendered” their kegs. The fact some get abandoned by people along the way doesn’t change the fact it has “Anheuser Busch” stamped on it (most I remember did). I think I’ve seen some with the Budweiser script on it too.

            The bigger issue I suspect is that another brewer is using Anheuser Busch kegs to distribute non-AB beer, so Budweiser is now interested in trying to take their kegs back…from them.

            I don’t know who has a better claim, but I doubt they are going to seek out everyone with an empty keg and try and reclaim it unless you are a craft brewer.

            • Sneeje says:

              I understand their “claim”. Their “claim” may or may not have a basis in reality and it seems silly to me that so many here would find it more credible than the smaller brewers. There is no reason to believe one party or the other since there is a legal primary and secondary market for kegs. It is asinine to ignore the claims of one brewer without asking for proof of ownership.

              One other important question the police usually ask in these cases: did AB file a police report or otherwise record the loss of these kegs? If they cannot produce that proof, I think the smaller brewer would be in the clear.

              • demeteloaf says:

                Why do the police need to be involved at all?

                Budweiser is going to the party that is actually selling the beer (the bar, store, whatever) and saying “look, you can’t sell non-budweiser beer out of stolen budweiser kegs, please give them to us.” Something along those lines is probably in the distribution contract budweiser has with them as well.

                That party is then voluntarily handing the kegs over to budweiser (because they’d much rather be on budweiser’s good side) and then complaining to the craft brewer for selling them budweiser kegs. All of these have been private transactions, and there’s no reason for the police to intervene.

                • Sneeje says:

                  Those must be some pretty stupid people then.

                  What you seem to be missing is that just because the AB logo is on the kegs, it has NOTHING to do with who has ownership of the kegs. Period. AB has not proven anything. I could just as easily walk up to your car in a valet parking lot, tell the valet that you stole my car and please give me the keys.

                  • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

                    That would only be true if they are driving a car that says “property of Sneeje” stamped into the metal and also has a picture of your face on the hood.

                    Do dairies have to file police reports for all of their milk crates? But if a representative of the dairy is at a store, and sees it’s crates being used to transport/store other milk, do you think they don’t have the right to claim back their property b/c they don’t have a police report?

        • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

          When I was a kid I collected root beer mugs. Some were A&W, some were Hires, some were Dog and Suds. Was I buying stolen merchandise then?

          • guspaz says:

            A&W licenses the production and sale of the mugs as merch, that’s a completely different scenario.

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            A better analogy would be trays. McDonalds/Wendy’s/Burger King/etc… don’t sell their trays. They sell glasses with their names on them, but not their trays. If you take some from the store, that doesn’t mean they stop owning them.

      • stephent says:

        could sue them in small claims court.

    • tinmanx says:

      The kegs probably have a Budweiser logo on it.

      • taaurrus says:

        I have a dog bed with the name “kirkland” on it. Does that mean that Costco can come just take it from my home because it has their name on it??

        • maxamus2 says:

          Are you setting up a business where you are selling dog beds that you say are your own but have the Kirkland logo on it? Very very different thing than just using it in your home with your dog.

          • pdj79 says:

            Your analogy doesn’t hold up. They are not selling Budweiser kegs and passing them off as their own. For your analogy to work, they would have to be selling Kirkland-branded dog beds with their own-branded dogs within them. They are selling their own beer in a container that just so happens to have Budweiser’s name stamped on the side (which is debatable at this point because there aren’t any pictures of the so-called stolen kegs and the original FB post does not mention this). And according to the post, it’s not even corporate who’s behind it, but a local distributor. This is definitely some BS. They keg is just a delivery system…it shouldn’t matter what is stamped onto it, so long as they aren’t purporting it to be that product when it is not.

      • kobresia says:

        I’ve come across a few kegs in the scrap at the local recycling center over the years. I haven’t seen any with an actual logo, most say “Property of _major_brewer_”. It’s stamped right into the aluminum in the top. One had an aluminum plate with a new owner name stamped on it welded over the top of the original ownership stamp. I just took them to a local liquor store at my convenience to return to the breweries, I really doubt the kegs are only worth as much as the deposit that someone forfeited, and it’s the right thing to do to help them find their ways home.

        The thing is, I don’t know if the stamps can ever be legitimately voided, even by spot welding a new plate over the top. These may be the sort of thing that never really cease to be the property of the original owner and any in use by other folks should just be considered stolen. There is really nothing that would seem to conclusively void that original stamping in the original keg, milk crate, or USPS mail “official use only” mail tote that wouldn’t be trivial for a determined thief to mimic.

        It doesn’t matter if a keg gets abandoned at an underage drinking campfire, at a defunct distributor/liquor store, someone who is just too lazy to return it, or anywhere else– it still should be returned because it’s still the property of the brewer who owns it, and anyone else keeping or using it is in possession of stolen property. Anyone buying them from any source except the original brewer, with some form of proof that they are transferring ownership, is a sucker.

        • Dre' says:

          Doesn’t matter. If he has a bill of sale & Budweiser hasn’t reported anything stolen, they don’t have a leg to stand on & will need to talk to his keg distributor.

          • kobresia says:

            Wrong. In that this sort of container is designed to leave the owner’s possession while used to transport the product, it’s unlikely that the brewer would ever know if one was stolen or just still in use. It is theft and misuse to use their kegs with another product, period.

            It also doesn’t matter if he has a bill of sale. You can buy something at a pawn shop and they’ll give you a bill of sale, but if it is stolen and the rightful owner can prove ownership, you lose. Buying “abandoned property” does not clear its title if it wasn’t deliberately abandoned by the rightful owner. Try convincing Target that you own their bright red shopping cart because a bum abandoned it in your yard and they didn’t reclaim it in a timely manner. Again, in the case of containers and other easily identifiable stuff that says “Property of _corporation_”, it’s unlikely that there would ever be a sufficiently clear ownership of it by another party to stop the rightful owner from being able to reclaim it.

            • RvLeshrac says:

              Stamping “Property of Me” on top of something doesn’t mean jack. It doesn’t entitle you to finding someone a decade after you’ve gotten rid of the item and simply stealing it from them.

              Unless Budweiser can prove they’ve never sold a keg, the new owner has all the evidence backing up his claim.

              • Minze says:

                Wouldn’t the onus of proof be on the purchaser? I mean, if I have a necklace that was stolen and I call the police because I see someone wearing the necklace the police don’t say “prove to me you didn’t sell it”, they go to the person wearing it and say “prove you purchased this legally”.

  2. mingtae says:

    “So the big monopoly Budweiser. . . . “

    Since when is Budweiser considered a monopoly? People through this term around way to easily.

    • mister_roboto says:

      Wait- Budweiser is BEER? This whole time I thought they had the monopoly on piss in a can.

      • aerodawg says:

        Piss in a can? You’re being far to kind to the “King of Beers.” More like “Horse piss filtered through a dirty sock”

        • mister_roboto says:

          You made me “lol” – right after I gagged a little.

        • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

          So that’s how they “Beechwood Age” Budweiser! I should’ve known. And to every bartender who’s ever served me a Bud by mistake when I belly up for a Molson Export–you better get your vision checked, and your palate as well.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Sadly they are far from being the only ones selling piss in a can.

    • LuzioFantazmic says:

      Watch the movie Beer Wars. They may not be a monopoly, but the big three brewers make it extremely difficult for small brewers to get distributed and more importantly, get display space in store.

      • deejmer says:

        Meh….its changing man. Even here in St Louis we have Schlafly brewery which is growing fast, even distributing as far as Colorado and California. They have damn good product, and after InBev bought out AB, a lot of locals have lost their allegiance to the AB brand. Now that Schlafly has become so successful, a new, large batch of other brewers are making a stir here too. Its friggin awesome how its snowballing. They are losing the wars…their marketing can’t beat out the little guys’ artisan approach.

      • Doubting thomas says:

        Even so, that is oligarchy, not monopoly.

  3. smartypants503 says:

    Were the “Keg Police” college age, wearing polo shirts and flip-flops and did they refer to you as “Bro”? If so I think he got bamboozled by the local frat. Bonus points if they actually had badges that said “Keg Police” on them.

  4. ReaperRob says:

    This sounds like someone scamming the distributor, I’ve seen used Budweiser kegs for sale several times.

  5. demeteloaf says:

    What’s probably happening:

    Budweiser’s distribution contract for kegs has a clause in it that says once kegs are used, they need to be returned to budweiser. Some people are ignoring this clause, and selling/junking their kegs. This company is then buying the used kegs on the cheap, and budweiser sees the kegs being used in stores, and is going “wait a second, those kegs were supposed to be returned to us, why do you have them.” And then are claiming the kegs are stolen property (which they are) and taking them back.

    Basically, you don’t get off the hook for buying stolen property, just because you paid for it. It’s still stolen, and the original owner has the right to reclaim it…

    • Kate says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t think you can just confiscate something you think is yours, no matter how bit you are. Personally I would call the cops on the Budweiser people who tried that.

      • Zowzers says:

        thing is, they know its theirs as their name is embossed on the side of it.

        • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

          They know it WAS theirs. If they think they have a legitimate property claim, then they should call the cops.

          • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

            This is like CHEP pallets, cargo containers, milk crates, USPS bins, etc… They are the property of the company that makes them/has their name on them. They lend/loan/lease them out. Just because I have a delivery arrive on a Chep pallet, doesn’t make that pallet mine because their name is on it. If I sell that pallet, I don’t have the authority to do that, and if you buy it from me, that doesn’t give you ownership of it. It’s up to YOU to recover the money from me while the owner gets their property back.

            • kobresia says:

              Precisely. The proof of ownership is right there in the “Property of …..” stampings made on the item. Short of breaking-in to a building to reclaim their stuff or holding someone at gunpoint to recover them, they are well within their rights to seize what’s theirs once it has completed its purpose of facilitating transportation of their products. Heck, I doubt it would even be considered unlawful for, say, a Target cart recovery person to dump a homeless person’s belongings out and taking the cart back.

              • Republicrat says:

                Not really. The mere presence of a stamp on the keg does not prove ownership. You’re going to have us believe that Budweiser has never thrown out or abandoned a keg before.

                I have, for example, sold a bicycle that has my name and address etched on the frame. The etching does not mean I get to retain ownership after the sale.

                Budweiser can ask for the kegs back nicely, call the cops (and press charges), or file a lawsuit. Anything other than this is illegal, especially if Budweiser doesn’t really own the kegs in question.

                • BurtReynolds says:

                  My guess is that when Budweiser/AB actually intends to discard a keg, they probably make it non-operational. Punch a hole in the side of it or something and send it out for scrap.

                  There are two explanations for why they suddenly care:
                  1) New kegs aren’t free, and they realized they have all these kegs that are “theirs” floating out there.
                  2) The kegs say Anheuser Busch or Budweiser and they are being used to distribute another beer, which is understandable I suppose.

                  • RvLeshrac says:

                    Unlikely. Kegs aren’t old dresses. They’re worth a fortune wholesale.

                  • BBBB says:

                    “There are two explanations for why they suddenly care:…”

                    I don’t think this is a case of “suddenly care.” For a big operation like Budweiser it is simply a cost/benefit situation. It isn’t worth it to actively look for the missing kegs unless there is a good chance of finding a large quantity. However, if the drivers or sales people notice missing kegs, they try to take them back. If the possessor of the kegs resists, then they first use other means to reclaim them – first civil methods (leverage from being the distributor to police civil assists) and then filing possession of stolen property charges (after the civil attempts, the possessor of the kegs would have a hard time justifying a claim that he didn’t know the were not legally his.

                    Once Budweiser starts the process of reclaiming kegs, they need to follow through to set an example – once there is publicity, they cannot back down.

                    Kegs, milk crates, shopping carts, leased software, leased equipment – it is easy for the company to demonstrate that there is a specific decommissioning process (scrapping/destroying or marking).

      • demeteloaf says:

        Well, keep in mind that budweiser is taking these kegs back from stores/bars/other places they distribute to.

        So what’s probably happening is budweiser is saying “you want us to keep selling you budweiser, you have to eat the cost on these stolen kegs and give them to us voluntarily.”

        Since budweiser is much more popular and lucrative than the brewery’s beer. The stores do this, and then call and scream at the brewery that they sold them stolen budweiser kegs. That’s why in his long rant, the brewery owner is accusing budweiser of slandering him. Because he has all these people he distributes to calling him up and saying they couldn’t sell his keg because budweiser claimed it was stolen and demanded it back.

      • Emperor Norton I says:

        Attempting to confiscate what he claimed was his property is what got OJ Simpson arrested & convicted in Nevada.

        • kobresia says:

          I want to say that most of what got him in trouble was breaking-in, kidnapping, brandishing guns, and pistol-whipping a couple of guys. And, well, it was also robbery mostly because he didn’t have irrefutable proof that the stuff was his and that it had been stolen.

          That he didn’t involve the cops almost seemed to say that he knew the stuff was not really stolen (maybe it was taken by the court and sold to satisfy the civil judgments against him) and that he wanted it back anyway.

  6. Tim says:

    It’d be a good idea to start keeping very, very good records of the kegs (if Calfkiller isn’t doing that already). Keep track of invoices from purchasing, put serial numbers on each keg, track exactly where each keg goes, etc. Anything to prove that you own the kegs completely legally.

    • sirwired says:

      Just because you paid somebody for merchandise does not mean that merchandise was acquired legitimately. The invoices kept by the brewer won’t help. What would be needed would be documentation from the place the business bought them from showing that THEY acquired them through an authorized source. (Billy-Bob’s Bankrupt Bar not being one of them.)

    • JJFIII says:

      Would not matter. I could get great records for a car that was stolen, buy it and say it is mine. Guess what? IT IS NOT MINE. If this brewer can not afford to buy his own UNUSED kegs, that tells me he tries to do a lot on the cheap. I wouldn’t be drinking his crap.

      • bonzombiekitty says:

        Two things –

        Even if the kegs are actually Budweiser’s property (which I would expect they are, or someone along the keg supply line is not holding up their end of a contract to destroy certain kegs) and the brewer bought kegs that shouldn’t have been up for sale, it’s Budweiser’s responsibility to bring the claim to the police and show evidence that the kegs are actually their property. Even if the kegs have the Budweiser logo on them, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that Budweiser has sold or abandoned old kegs in the past and and someone else eventually resells them. Theoretical example – company that makes the kegs for Budweiser builds a set of kegs that Budweiser never actually purchases, so instead of scrapping the kegs, it sells them. Maybe those kegs SHOULD have been scrapped by contract, but it doesn’t mean that whoever bought the kegs is buying stolen property. They should have to go through a more formal process than telling a bar “hey! That’s OUR keg. This guy stole our keg!” and then taking the keg or otherwise making the bar not sell the keg.

        Also, running a brewery is a huge expense, and you have to do a lot of things “on the cheap” just in order to stay in business and make a good product. This goes even more so for small breweries that make good beer (good ingredients are expensive). Kegs are a good spot to save money at because, well, provided it’s clean and holds pressure, a keg is a keg is a keg. It’s silly to buy brand new kegs when used ones that work just as well are available for cheaper.

  7. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Sounds like Slander.

  8. LadyTL says:

    As someone who is in St. Louis, Budweiser’s headquarters is no longer in St. Louis since they got bought out by An-Bev. The headquarters there is now a regional thing and to get answers you need to find someone in the An-Bev hierarchy.

  9. Cicadymn says:

    “Monopoly”

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    This story seems fishy. I feel like we’re only getting a vague bit of the story.

  10. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    As I remember at one time, Bud/Michelob kegs were the property of Anheuser-Busch and had to be returned. Probably still true. If so, the Bud kegs they bought were probably dumped by a distributor when they should have been scrapped.

    • Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

      Dang! Should have read demeteloaf’s post first.

    • MrEvil says:

      If the kegs say “Property of Anheuser Busch” Then I’ll buy that the kegs are un-returned property of AB. Same way most all of U-Haul’s rental equipment says “Property of U-Haul on it”

      • Republicrat says:

        The stamp does not prove ownership. Do they *ever* throw away kegs that still have a stamp on them? Does U-Haul ever scrap old equipment?

  11. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Sounds like some beancounter figured out they were losing kegs and told some VP that they would save $xxx,xxx.00 per year if they didn’t have to buy so many replacements. So now some warehouse or production manager’s yearly bonus is tied to that number and he’s using his resources to make sure he gets his bonus.

    • Alan says:

      More likely some bean counter found out that they were losing .0003% market share to micro brews and asked, what can we do to make it harder on them.

  12. spooky981 says:

    Budweiser is right in this case. They’ve never sold a keg. They sell beer in kegs, but the keg itself remains property of Budweiser and they will continue to refill it as many times as it can physically tolerate it. The have contracts in place with their distributors and retailers that stipulate kegs must be returned.

    The kegs are stolen property. Just because this guy didn’t DO the stealing, doesn’t make his ownership of them legitimate.

    And c’mon, monopoly?

    • OSAM says:

      The OP specifically says he buys some refurbs: What about when Budweiser can’t use the kegs anymore and legitimately scraps them and then someone else refurbs them back to useable status? They’ll still have “Property of Budweiser” on them, but they’ve been scrapped by Budweiser.

      • ajaxd says:

        From OP: “unclaimed freight auctions, breweries that have closed, or keg companies that sell new, used, and refurbished kegs”. This implies that some may have been refurbished but there is no knowledge of that. Most or all of them are simply stolen (not returned to Budweiser) and sold.

  13. Abradax says:

    Sue early, sue often.

    Make Budweiser prove in a court of law that they have never sold or discarded any kegs that could end up in a secondary market.

  14. Gehasst says:

    This is what happens when the Belgins bought it out. Poor Auggie.

  15. TuxMan says:

    The age and value puts this matter into the hands of civil court.

    The owner of the keg has to prove ownership. Having the logo on the side does not prove this. A company policy saying you can’t sell the kegs; does not prove this.

    The owner has to file a police report claiming the theft. They can not just enter a 3rd party, lay claim, and recover with out a court order.

    Better return every bottle and can after you drink the beer, before they say that you stole them.

  16. TuxMan says:

    On the other hand…

    The distributor collects a deposit from it’s customer for the return of the keg. If the keg is not returned the distributor pays for the keg using the deposit.

    I work in the rental business and this is how it’s done.

    Once the loaned has been paid for as not returned; it’s not considered stolen and we can’t recover it.

    • JusticeGustine says:

      In my line of work, the deposit on unreturned items pays for a replacement item and the original unreturned item remains property of the company. YMMV, for me it’s in the fine print.

      • Tunnen says:

        I would think you are right, but likely all comes down to the fine print in the contract.

        I know the local supermarket only charges a $20 deposit on those Rug Doctor carpet cleaners. Something tells me that the fine print would say that the cleaner remains the property of either the store or the Rug Doctor company, regardless of the deposit being kept. Not to mention the 25 cent to $1 (Canadian coin) deposit on shopping carts. I’m assuming $1 does not cover the actual cost of the shopping cart.

        On the other hand, the local major video store (before it closed down) used to charge a deposit at or above the retail price of a new console. I’m guessing that you might retain ownership in that situation, though you never know, that chain was a little scummy that way.

        I’m thinking the bottom line is that in TuxMan’s business as well as many others, the cost of recovery doesn’t warrent chasing after it so they just let it go.

        • kobresia says:

          I want to say it ultimately comes down to how identifiable something is as returnable property that belongs to a company. The deposit is generally only an incentive to make it worth the borrower’s while to return the container or other item rather than abandoning it or thowing it away when they’re done. Forfeiting the deposit does NOT mean it’s a legitimate purchase.

    • Southern says:

      Registration numbers are only used when a keg is sold to a customer. You don’t need them to deliver to a bar that’s going to use them on tap.

    • JonBoy470 says:

      This…

      There are certain classes of real property for which a government-run paper-trail establishes ownership. Real estate and cars are the two most prominent I can think of. Kegs do not fit into this category. This could get interesting in terms of case law. Sounds like the microbrewery got lots of their kegs via storage and freight auctions. In these auctions, whoever rented the storage unit agreed that they would forfeit the contents in the case of non-payment of rent/fees. If InBev’s contracts with their distributors didn’t have a clause to cover such an eventuality, this could get very interesting…

      If Tom gives Dick possession of a keg, with the understanding that Tom still owns it, and Dick puts it in a storage locker, the contents of which are subsequently sold at auction to Harry, who owns the keg?

  17. Tunnen says:

    I remember when I was a kid, my father had a ton of plastic Dairyland milk crates. They were moulded with “Property of Dairyland. Not for Sale” that was also painted in black with the rest of the crate being a bright yellow. He used them for storage bins in the shed since they stacked nicely. I think every one of my friend’s families also had a few around too. The local grocery store used to give them away to people, I’m guessing that they distributor never bothered to pick up the empty ones. I still see them from time to time in people’s garages or sheds. I’m guessing they would have tried to raise a stink about it if someone tried to use them for a commercial purpose though.

  18. RonJeremy4Pres says:

    I tried to search the comments, sorry if I missed someone else say it. Stainless steel is really expensive. One thing Budweiser does is charge a below replacement cost for the deposit on its kegs. Small brewers can’t do afford this, which is of course exactly what Bud wants. Bud seems to be angry that someone has made their strategy backfire. Maybe technically you’re always supposed to bring the keg back, even if you paid a sizable deposit, but it doesn’t always happen that way… and now they’re they’re having a temper tantrum about it. Funny though, I never saw them go looking for missing kegs before. I can’t feel bad for Bud, their beer sucks too.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Kegs aren’t aluminum?

      • Derigiberble says:

        No, stainless steel.

        • kobresia says:

          I think it may depend on the kegs. The ones that are kind of barrel-shaped with tapered ends appear to be aluminum with a stainless steel port, the ones that are cylinders with a handle on one or both ends look to me like they’re completely stainless.

          I don’t buy beer by the keg, but that’s just kind of what I noticed helping the kegs find their way home when assholes would dump them at the recycling center after finding them in a garage or storage locker or wherever.

  19. Oregon says:

    Budweiser wins this one. The kegs have a deposit on then and when I checked our walk in most have a serial # stamped in them. The deposit is just there to make you aware that you do not own the kegs. Stolen kegs are just that stolen. If a Bud distributor came in and claimed kegs that had anothers brewers beer in them but had the bud name on the keg. I would let them have the keg. This is not a fight as a pub owner I would want to get into. The small guy would have to prove abandonment by Bud. Just like you can not claim a car that was left on you property without going the full legal route. Contact the last known owner, submit the proper paper work and so forth this small brewer knew he was walking a fine line and it could come back on him. He took a chance and got caught his only recourse is to play it in the court of public opinion and hope that he came fixs his wrong by making bud into the bad guy.

    • Oregon says:

      also the bud distributor sells more then just kegs of bud. Ours has over 30 brands of draft beer, From yellow water to quality micro brews

    • Derigiberble says:

      I have to agree for the most part. Generally kegs that you find are stolen or not returned because people can make more from selling the keg than they paid in deposit. AB is very, very aggressive about tracking down their kegs because they have held the deposits unreasonably low on their kegs as a way to give them a competitive edge. Thus they lose more kegs to this sort of thing. A deposit on a Bud Light keg is about $30, it is made of about 30lb of stainless steel, and can be sold for scrap in some areas for upwards of $70.

      However I would think that kegs obtained via abandoned freight auctions would be “legal” because for the most part when someone doesn’t pay for the freight charges the shipper can completely legally seize the shipment and auction it to recover their costs. AB was free to come forward, pay the outstanding shipping charges, and claim their property. They did not do so, so I think they lost claim to the physical kegs (similar to how someone who doesn’t pick up their car from impound can have it legally auctioned off to pay the impound fees). They still can sue the distributor which was dumb enough to let the shipment fall through the cracks for the cost of the kegs but I’m sure AB doesn’t want to piss off any distributors by doing so.

  20. Rhinoguy says:

    This sounds like a scam. But not who you think. I’m betting on a route driver going off his route and stealing kegs from unsuspecting brewers. Then he turns them in to his company and gets a spiff. Plus he is probably getting some free GOOD beer out of the deal too.
    Just a cynical old scammer here.

  21. Robert Nagel says:

    I used to work for an aluminum recycling plant that bought scrap and made specification ingot for casting plants. We bought a whole truckload of used beer kegs. They sell them when they are done with them. If they don’t take the time to damage them past re-use then it is their problem, not the buyers. if they sell them to a scrap dealer with the proviso that they not be resold for reuse then their problem is with the scrap dealer. in any case it is on them to prove they are stolen, an impossible task given the fact that they will have many invoices for scrapped kegs floating around.
    As a side note I had to send a letter on company letterhead home with the employee responsible for cutting the stainless steel bung out of it. Every now and then it would be a half empty keg and beer went all over him. he smelled like a bum on skid row at the end of the day. If he didn’t have the letter he was going to jail if he got stopped by the cops.

  22. Plasmafox says:

    Unless they “walked into accounts” with a court order and a peace officer, they committed a crime.

  23. StopGougingMeThere! says:

    How much is a can of spray paint and a stencil so that they can cover up the Bud logos and put on the small brewery ones? I’m not an expert on kegs so I don’t know if the Bud kegs are physically different than say a Miller or Coors keg but you would think that might be a simple solution to the problem. And perhaps it’s time for the brewery to slowly invest in some original kegs to eliminate the used ones over time.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      Larger brewers usually have logos or something stamped into the metal of the kegs.

  24. rdclark says:

    So apparently kegs are owned by the breweries, the bars pay a deposit on them? But you can get more by selling the empty keg out the back door than by returning it and getting your deposit back?

    And meanwhile a craft brewery is selling kegs of beer that say “Budweiser” on them but what’s inside isn’t Budweiser?

    And we think this is all OK?

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      Generally, that’s true. However, it is possible that Budweiser either abandoned the kegs or sold them off and they found their way to the secondary market where they were legally sold.

      The bigger issue is selling product in kegs that say “Budweiser” on them, but not containing Budweiser. In that case, there’s no information on what type of identifying information was on the kegs (i.e. was it a big emblem imprinted on the keg, or a small “property of Budweiser” stamped on the bottom of the keg?) and what effort, if any the small brewer made to cover up that identifying information.

  25. shepd says:

    The heart of the issue is that Budweiser isn’t following legal procedure to recover the kegs (probably because they want to be nice and give people a chance to do the right thing). To recover them, Budweiser must get a judgment/court order. Then they can have them back. The judgment would then give the company who has (had) them the right to sue down the purchasing line for having been sold stolen property.

  26. doobiewondersmoke says:

    This story isn’t really about theft. The story is that Budweiser is using a tactic to strong arm it’s competition. This is how the big 3 work. They feel threatened when a new beer takes it’s place along side one of it’s taps and they use certain threats against the owner of the establishment or against the smaller brewer (like in this case). This is nothing new and Budweiser will also do this to Coors and vice versa. Check out the documentary called Beer Wars and you’ll completely understand the issue that Calfkiller is currently having.

  27. Cream Of Meat says:

    So, a big fan of calkkiller dressed up as a budwiser guy and with a little social engineering he scored a bunch of free beer?

    Win.