Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Not the Beer!

While politicians have been whining about the price of oil, they have failed to see the real threat to our nation.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Brewmaster Neil Witte has an unusual job to do these days: combing through scrap metal.

"There's one!" he shouted on a recent afternoon, as he tugged a shiny, 30-pound cylinder from the mountain of stainless steel at a local junkyard. Last year, Mr. Witte recovered more than 100 kegs in this same lot that had been stolen from his employer, Boulevard Brewing Co. Around him were dozens of steel kegs stamped with the logos of Miller and Anheuser-Busch and various Mexican and European brewers. They all suffer from the problem of kegs with legs.

A global boom in the market price for commodities, including steel and aluminum, has sent scrap-metal prices soaring. And that has created a tempting target for criminals world-wide in everyday objects that contain metals -- from light poles along highways to lowly beer kegs.