Stolen pint glasses, and new beer releases

Many breweries have a growing problem — customers stealing the glassware.

In a recent story by Cincinnati-based WCPO, a few of the brewery owners interviewed indicated that some visitors seem to somehow feel entitled to walk out with their logo pint glass. MadTree Brewing even reported being out thousands of dollars every year due to theft and breakage.

“Theft is definitely a real thing that happens,” Rivertown Brewing’s Lindsey Roeper told WCPO. “While you might think it’s nothing, every little bit counts when you’re running a small business.”

Most breweries have branded glassware for sale, usually at quite reasonable prices. This is mostly marketing, but if the price is right, it may dissuade theft to some degree.

Some breweries in Louisville don’t serve beer in logo glasses. At Against the Grain, for instance, they have glasses specific to beer styles. They’re cool, but not exactly souvenirs one might be inclined to tuck inside a purse or coat pocket. Apocalypse Brew Works, meanwhile, serves all its beer in plastic cups, which avoids both theft and breakage.

But many, if not most, breweries around town serve in logo pint glasses and tulip glasses, and the results can sometimes mean a few lost glasses and dollars.

“We have glasses stolen and broken on a fairly regular basis,” Vince Cain of Great Flood Brewing Co. said. “Honestly, it’s something we anticipate and budget for. We’d obviously prefer that customers purchase glassware and other merchandise from us, but we’re realistic and know that some are going walk out the door.”

Scott Shreffler of Mile Wide Beer Co. came up with a slightly different idea, which, so far, seems to have helped.

“I don’t know that glass theft been a huge issue for us at the taproom,” Shreffler said. “We had initially wanted to do plain, unbranded glassware, specifically to discourage people from stealing. But we ended up printing our bridge logo on the taproom glasses, rather than the full Mile Wide logo.”

The brewery owners’ idea was that if the glasses didn’t specifically have the brewery’s name on them, it might make people less apt to walk out the door with it. Of course, there’s also general tidiness to consider — if your staff is plucking empty glasses up while people are still on site, it removes some level of temptation.

“Our bar staff is really great when it comes to getting empty glasses off of tables,” Shreffler said. “We don’t like for dirty glasses to sit around in general, and their attention to detail may very well contribute to glass theft not being an issue for us.”

In short, three or four bucks is not too much to pay for a glass, it helps the brewery, and you won’t ever get kicked out of a place if you’re caught buying a glass instead of stealing one. It’s a pretty simple concept, really.

Quaff ON! beers coming to Louisville May 9

Bloomington, Indiana-based Quaff ON! Brewing Co. will debut its wares in the Louisville market with a special release party May 9 at Recbar in Jeffersontown. Expect five Quaff ON! brews on tap, including the signature Busted Knuckle Ale, plus a chance to schmooze with brewery owners and reps. And expect more events to come, as well as some specialty beers such as a strawberry blond.

“I don’t want to just do tap takeovers,” said Louisville rep for Quaff ON! Danny Gold. “Those have been done before. We want to make it educational.”

Apocalypse Brew Works’ first bottle release

Speaking of Apocalypse Brew Works, after nearly five years in business on Mellwood Avenue selling pints and growlers from its so-called Fallout Shelter, the brewery’s first bottle release arrives May 5.

The beer, which will be a limited release sold in 22-ounce bombers, is a bretted foreign extra stout that has been aged for one year in bourbon barrels. Interestingly, the base bar was placed into three separate barrels — two from Heaven Hill, one from Jim Beam — and laced with three different strains of brettanomyces. The resulting three beers were then blended into one and bottled.

I got a sneak preview of the beer, and it’s worth checking out. Apocalypse co-owner noted that some agave syrup was added, which no doubt only added to the residual sweetness and fruitiness in the beer. The sweet flavor brings to mind black cherries, yet some of the barrel qualities also seep through. And while the finish is astringent, the body is creamy. Quite interesting.

The release commences at 5 p.m. on Friday. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but you will also be able to find bottles in liquor stores around town. Those bottles will be priced at $15 apiece.