If you are a lover of SweetWater Brewing Company’s summer seasonal ales, it may be a little more difficult than normal to find a six-pack of your favorite brew. Sometime between close of business Monday, June 20 and opening Tuesday, June 21, more than 79,000 bottles or 3,300 cases of SweetWater brews disappeared along with two trailers that they were loaded in. The trailers were recovered, but much of the beer is still missing.
But, the reason the beer was stolen remains a mystery. By law, retailers cannot accept beer from anyone other than a licensed SweetWater distributor. So, if the motive was to sell the beer, valued at more than $125,000, the thieves are destined to hit a brick wall.
In an article posted to the Men’s Journal website, Tucker Berta Sarkisian says, “We can’t speculate, [why that much beer would be stolen], “but maybe someone is just trying to throw one hell of a party.”
That would be one hell of a party. Just to put it in perspective, that much beer would be enough for every person in attendance at a sold out Jaguars game at EverBank Field to have one beer. Even at that, there would be beer left over for every person in a seat at a sold out Sun’s baseball game to have two beers.
The Associated Press reports that about 25-percent of the beer was found in a warehouse south of Atlanta where SweetWater is located. Ironically, the warehouse is located close to locations where the 1977 comedy Smokey and the Bandit was filmed. The movie’s story revolves around a shipment of Coors beer being trucked through the southern United States. While the similarity of the story and the theft is not lost on SweetWater officials, they are not amused.
Company marketing officer, Steve Farace said that even though some of the beer was recovered, SweetWater would not resell it.
“We can no longer trust that the beer would be up to the quality standards that we as a brewry maintain,” Farace said in the AP article before uttering the words no beer-lover likes to hear. “So, unfortunately we have to destroy it all.”
The beer in the stolen trailers consisted of the company’s summer variety pack that contained their “Goin’ Coastal IPA.” The brew, flavored with pineapple is one of SweetWater’s best-selling seasonal brews. Because of the theft, the vast majority of Goin’ Coastal for the Atlanta region has been lost and must be remade. There is no word on how the heist will effect shipments to Florida or other SweetWater markets.