Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Keg thieves, take note

So, my sister Jen sends me a CNN article the other day about breweries getting their kegs stolen and I had to laugh. Not because getting your kegs stolen is at all funny — we’ve spent a whole lot of money on kegs, and we have a tough time getting them to come home.

I actually laughed because the timing was funny, since we’ve been on a mission lately trying to mark BEAU’s on them better so that hopefully we don’t lose too many. We’ve tried a whole bunch of ways, and nothing worked exactly the way I wanted in terms of how long it took, or how much it cost.

At first we thought we’d make a template and paint the kegs, but the paint killed the template real fast, and it took way too long to do. Then we got these reversed out stickers made up that said Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. 1-866-585-BEER. They looked sharp out of the gate, but the stickers took a ridiculous amount of time to get onto the kegs, and after one wash they read: eau’ ll N tur l Br wing o. 1- 6- 85-BEE.

So to look less like a burnt-out sign for a cheap o-tel, we got bigger stickers that just said Beau’s. They were ugly, and still took forever, and still didn’t stick properly. Then we got a real eye-opener when we bought some used kegs from Church-Key. They all came with the same stickers we used, which of course we wanted to replace with out own. Turns out that with a $2 scraper, you can have 30 kegs logo-free in less than 5 minutes. Nice to know.

So we went back to our original paint idea, after getting inspired by the spray paint that our CO2 supplier uses to mark up its kegs. Surely this must be possible, we told ourselves. A trip to Zellers is what sealed the deal. In their crafting section they have a tool for scrapbookers that cuts shapes into cardstock. It’s by a company named Fiskars, and it’s called a Shape Template.

I figured if it could cut cardstock, it might cut through a thin plastic so I bought some. Put the template inside a letter stencil and trace the edges with the little Shape Template cutter over the plastic, and presto! I have a plastic stencil that says Beau’s.

With a little bit of practice using red spray paint (I would have failed miserably as a vandal) we got the kegs nicely marked up.

All in all, I think I paid $500 for all the stupid stickers that don’t work, versus about $65 (including spray paint) for this tool that actually works. Whether we keep more of our kegs now still needs to be seen, but at least whoever takes them will have to invest in more than $2 for a scraper.

At the request of an anonymous reader, here's one last shot of the boys ready to go into action. Don't forget, you can personally help them make a speedy trip back home for a refill!


Anonymous said...

Hey Steve - what does the final 'stenciled' product look like?!?!

Steve said...

Fur shure...its added to the original post now.

Carter said...

Great blog!! I'll be sure to keep up with it now that I've read the entire thing. As a homebrewer and future brewery owner/dreamer, I like seeing the inside workings of actually starting one. I know there's alot more to it than is written, but it actually seems that it can be done if you have the beer, smarts, some money, and a good bit of plain ole dumb luck.

Anonymous said...

We us tape with the brewery name and phone number on it. Takes about a minute per keg to put three stripes of tape all the way around a half barrel.

We still lose kegs, though. Largely because people are jerks and distributors are idiots.

Gabriel... said...

You sure are funny. I made a post about a photo of you. Take a look, it's you only with less age...

If this don't make your booty move, your booty must be dead.

Gabriel... said...

To see a pink rubber ball:

Dance, dance like you love the monkey who brung ya.

Jacob said...

I was thinking of painting a design on a keg myself, but got to wondering if the spray paint would come off when the keg was cold/wet etc?
i haven't tried it out before but just wanted to hear some thoughts.

Steve Beauchesne said...

spray paint works and lasts a long time. It can look a little messy if you arent careful with it though