Today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has a front page story about the growing of beer keg theft. The nut:
A global boom in the market price for commodities, including steel and aluminum, has sent scrap-metal prices soaring. And that has created a tempting target for criminals world-wide in everyday objects that contain metals – from light poles along highways to lowly beer kegs.
The story focuses on Boulevard Brewing in Kansas City. There Neil Witte has came up with a novel way of dealing with the problem, strapping each of his kegs with a large yellow “STOP!” tag with a cartoon cop warning scrap dealers not to buy Boulevard kegs.
The story sounds funny, but it particularly serious of smaller brewers. For instance, 40,000 kegs in Boulevard’s inventory represented more than 20% of the brewer’s fixed assets in 2004.