Breweries ask for help finding missing beer kegs

Hundreds of kegs full of fresh craft beer come out of the Saranac Brewery in Utica every day - but not all of the empty kegs make it back. The Matt Brewing company leases their kegs and when they go missing, replacement costs get passed on. The Chris Swersey from the Brewers Association says lost kegs cost beer producers hundreds of millions dollars each year.

"That's a cost nobody expects to have. You're supposed to be able to use these over and over and over again," said Matt Brewing Company Chairman and CEO Nick Matt.

The deposit on each keg is $20 but that doesn't even come close to covering the $150 it costs to replace one.

At Empire Brewing Company in Syracuse, every keg they own is labeled. Owner David Katleski also pays an additional $25 to the company name embossed on the each keg. Katleski says about ten percent of his kegs still go missing each year - and he believes many of them are stolen and sold for the stainless steel.

"A lot of times these are converted into scrap which is unfortunate," said Katleski. "We've even had people so much as to say they found our kegs and would we be willing to give a $30 deposit if they returned them to us?"

The Brewers Association is asking for help from the public, restaurants, distributors and wholesalers. The association has set up - a website that allows people to enter information about misplaced kegs.

"It's a simple, modest step that allows someone to return a keg to its owner," said Swersey.

Nick Matt said the website should help stray kegs make it back to their owners. Matt said small breweries are especially hard hit by the costs of replacing lost kegs.

"The brewers association is trying to make it easy for people to find out where they return the keg and try to solve the problem."