Whether they're stolen from the back alley behind a bar or simply not brought back to the store, unreturned kegs costs the craft brewing industry $5.3 million dollars a year. Every keg that doesn't make its way back to a brewery means one less keg of beer that brewery can turn back out and sell. As kegs are very expensive and a startup brewery cannot typically afford to purchase very many of them, even the loss of only one or two can make a huge impact on their revenue stream.
To help reunite kegs with their breweries, the Brewers Association has 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.
"Understanding the issue at hand is a vital part of finding a solution,” said Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and BA 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.
So, if you see any stray kegs that appear to be lost, please go to KegReturns.com and help it find it's way home. It could mean the difference between your favourite beer being available on tap or not.