Irish brewers call for vigilance in face of growing beer keg theft

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100,000 empty kegs missing in 2010
Significant increase in number of thefts for scrap metal
Beer companies call on businesses to secure kegs prior to collection

26 August 2011 – The Irish Brewers Association (IBA) has called on the licenced trade to be vigilant and take steps to prevent theft of kegs from their premises. The call comes amidst growing evidence of theft of kegs from pubs and bars with a subsequent threat to the supply as manufacturers and suppliers find their beer keg stocks significantly diminished.

According to IBA Senior Executive Stephen Lynam a new keg can cost up €100 but stolen kegs are being advertised for sale in local media and on the internet, often in batches of 100 or more, at values as low as €5 each.

Mr Lynam commented “The Irish Brewers Association believes that about 100,000 kegs belonging to our members went missing last year. We have reason to believe that the trade in such kegs is not opportunistic but part of the activities of organised criminals given that metal theft is a problem across the economy.

“Everything from radiators to artistic installations at the side of motorways are going missing and this phenomena is increasing in the midst of the economic downturn and deep recession.

“For every keg stolen the cost of providing beer to publicans in this country increases and damages the profitability of breweries and beer companies.

“The issue is not a new one, but my members inform me that the problem has worsened in the last 18 months and is prevalent on both sides of the border. This is as a result of metal prices and greater demand for kegs in other markets.

“We believe that in the medium term, the threat of supply chain interruption exists. IBA member companies are already examining their own practices to ensure the risk of theft is reduced.

“In order to combat the problem, beer companies are asking publicans for their part to hold empty kegs in a secure location prior to collection, report stolen kegs to the Gardai and to their suppliers, and to inform suppliers as soon as possible if kegs remain uncollected.”