The Brewers Association — the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American craft brewers — launched KegReturn.com, a site that provides tools to help consumers, homebrewers, retailers, wholesalers, brewers and scrap yards redirect kegs back to the breweries that own the kegs.
Kegs are always the property of the brewery which purchased them and filled them with beer. Many kegs disappear as a result of accidental mishandling, while others go missing due to intentional misappropriation. KegReturn.com offers a convenient way for kegs to get returned to their proper owner.
“Craft beer sales have grown tremendously over the past decade, which means the number of kegs owned by brewers has increased as well,” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. “Keg disappearances and the resulting profit loss are hindering opportunities for craft brewers. We must ensure kegs are returned to their owners, it’s the right thing to do.”
According to the Brewers Association, keg loss costs craft brewers between $0.46 and $1.37 per-barrel of annual keg production. Assuming 2011 craft beer sales of 11.5 million barrels, that is a total direct capital charge to craft brewers of $5.3 million and $15.8 million annually. Lost kegs act as an enormous additional and unintended tax on beer, ultimately having a direct impact on job growth and profit reduction for brewers, wholesalers and retailers.
“Understanding the issue at hand is a vital part of finding a solution,” said Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and association’s Technical Committee chair. “The online resource at KegReturn.com allows people to contact the brewery or their local distributor to return kegs back to the brewery to be filled again with beer. We call on beer lovers and people in the trade to help reunite kegs with their owners.”
For more information on keg etiquette, the keg return program, or for registration, visit: http://www.kegreturn.com/