The Australian beer industry is currently facing a challenge with the alarming increase in keg theft particularly in Melbourne. This recent spate of theft has left affected breweries and venues grappling with significant financials losses and operational disruptions. From small craft breweries to bustling bars and restaurants, no one is immune to the impact of keg thefts. Beyond the financial implications, keg thefts disrupt business operations, strain relationships with distributors and customers, and undermine the overall integrity of the industry.

The Rising Tide of Keg Thefts: What's Happening?

Recent reports and news articles have highlighted a significant increase in keg thefts across Melbourne, with a reported estimation of more than 200 empty kegs being stolen from various locations over the past few months, costing the beer industry over $30 000 according to a recent article written by Adam Vidler for 9News.  According to a recent article written by Will Ziebell for The Craft Pint, the Victorian Police however believe that far more kegs have been stolen, but they have not been reported to the police yet. 

While it is common for a handful of kegs to go missing here and there and end up being used as barbecues or stools, the recent spate of stolen kegs is happening in large numbers and appears to be an organised crime.

Al Carragher owner of Great Northern Hotel told Ziebell that they arrived in high visibility at three in the morning, loaded sixty kegs in eight minutes, swept the walkway, and left. While the co-owner of 2 Brothers Brewery, Dave Ong told Ziebell that more than 300 kegs had vanished from their inventory since the end of last year. 

empty kegs

Jeremy Story Carter from ABC News spoke to Mazen Hajjar, owner of Hawkers Beer who estimates they have lost close to $100 000 due to recent keg theft. CCTV footage from the end of last year shows two people stealing dozens of kegs from inside his premises while many more have been stolen from outside venues. 

It is evident that empty kegs are being targeted by groups with the intention to resell them for cash. Empty beer kegs cost between $150 to $200 each depending on the size of the order and weigh around 12kg each. However scrap metal yards only offer around $20 per keg which is small portion of their retail price.

The rise in keg thefts can be attributed to various factors, including the ease of access to empty kegs left outside venues and the ease of selling stolen kegs for scrap metal to yards willing to accept them. As a result, breweries are facing mounting losses as their valuable assets disappear overnight.

Tech to the Rescue: How IoT is Changing the Game

Amidst these challenges, there is hope for breweries seeking to protect their assets and prevent future thefts. One promising solution lies in the adoption of IoT technology, such as BinaryBeer’s innovative solution. By equipping kegs with smart sensors, breweries can track and monitor their assets in real-time, significantly reducing the risk of theft.

We are at the forefront of this technological revolution, we pride ourselves on being pioneers in live draught beer tracking. Our proprietary IoT sensor, KegLink™ transforms ordinary kegs into smart kegs, allowing brewers to monitor not just location but also crucial metrics like temperature, freshness, movement, and orientation. This data is presented on our web platform, the Binary Cloud, giving brewers real-time data and actionable insights.

KegLink IoT device installed on a keg

How BinaryBeer’s Solution can help safeguard your kegs:

  • Ensure 24/7 keg location tracking, providing real-time visibility regardless of their whereabouts.
  • Identify venues with empty kegs awaiting collection, streamlining inventory management and optimising keg turnaround times.
  • Receive instant alerts upon kegs entering or exiting predefined areas, empowering proactive response to potential security breaches.
  • Simplify keg collection with automated reports, facilitating efficient retrieval of kegs
  • Serve as a deterrent to theft with visible device installation on kegs, acting as a proactive security measure to discourage potential thieves.
  • Utilise gathered data to formulate policies and strategies aimed at preventing future theft incidents, bolstering overall security measures.
  • Identify where sensors are being tampered with or disabled enabling you to pinpoint scrap metal yards.

With KegLink, we’ve not only transformed kegs into smart assets but also captured invaluable data on keg thefts. Through real-time tracking and monitoring, KegLink has enabled us to pinpoint instances of theft, including the time of theft and the routes taken by thieves en route to scrap metal yards. Even when tracking a small portion of a fleet, KegLink has proven remarkably effective at identifying problem areas within the supply chain. By harnessing the power of data, we can proactively address keg thefts and safeguard the integrity of the brewing industry. 

“It’s a very visible problem that initially attracted us to the field. It’s fascinating to see the accurate data pin-pointing the bad players. It is also rewarding to be able to give precise advice to brewers on exactly how to curb the losses immediately” says Michael Burton, CEO of BinaryBeer.

Why BinaryBeer is a leader in IoT keg technology

  • Custom In-House Geolocation Engine: Overlaying data from multiple sources with every sensor transmission, our geolocation engine provides superior accuracy even in challenging environments like indoors, basements, and cool rooms.
  • Superior Connectivity with 5G Cellular Network: Our use of the 5G cellular network ensures extensive coverage and reliability, surpassing other connectivity options available in the market.
  • Weld-Free Attachment Method: With our weld-free attachment method, KegLink™ sensors are affixed to kegs using a specialist tool, providing robust security. Equipped with tamper detection functionality, our sensors send ‘SOS’ alerts directly to you in case of any tampering, allowing for swift intervention to safeguard your kegs.

Simple Steps Venues Can Take to Protect Kegs

Besides brewers adopting tech solutions, there are some practical steps venues can take to help enhance keg security on their premises:

  • Keep kegs stored in secure areas, cages or locked storage rooms at night to deter opportunistic thieves.
  • Install security cameras and alarm systems to monitor keg storage areas and deter potential thefts.
  • Inform brewers or keg rental companies as soon as kegs are empty and ready to be collected.
  • Collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to report thefts and recover stolen kegs, fostering a sense of community vigilance and support. Sharing information and strategies can create a unified front against thieves.


As the beer industry grapples with the concerning rise in keg thefts, it’s evident that proactive measures are needed to protect breweries and venues from financial losses and operational disruptions. The recent spate of thefts underscores the urgency of addressing this issue collectively as an industry. Fortunately, solutions like BinaryBeer’s IoT technology can help protect their valuable assets. By leveraging smart sensors and real-time tracking capabilities, breweries can bolster their security measures and mitigate the risk of theft. Together, we can work towards reducing keg theft, and brewers can focus on what they do best: crafting exceptional beers for all to enjoy.

Safeguard your brewery against the rising threat of keg thefts with BinaryBeer’s innovative IoT solution. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help protect your kegs on 1800 246 279 or [email protected]

If you witness an incident of keg theft or have information related to keg thefts, please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or file a confidential report online at

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