All you would-be keg thieves out there beware, California is coming for you. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed AB 2203 authored by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) that will make it illegal for any person to obliterate, mutilate or mark out the manufacturer’s name on a metal keg without the written consent of the manufacturer.
The measure makes it much harder for recycler’s to take metal kegs from non-owners. California has taken steps to eliminate the practice as recyclers are already prohibited from taking kegs that bear the name of a manufacturer without the written consent from the manufacturer. Opportunists are currently getting around this by defacing or grinding out the indicia on the keg. This bill now makes that in itself a crime.
“As California craft breweries continue to expand and grow AB 2203 will be a positive step in reducing keg theft, ultimately saving money for all brewers who have kegs in circulation,” stated Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewers Association.
With the fluctuating price of metal, keg theft has become a chronic problem for beer manufacturers costing the industry as much as $50 million annually. It’s estimated that individual brewers lose up to $150 to replace a keg. The bill gives law enforcement another legal tool to use against thieves that are stealing kegs, grinding out the name or any identifying information and then recycling the kegs for cash.
AB 2203 had bi-partisan support and passed both the Senate and Assembly chambers without opposition. The measure will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015.