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Old 11-27-2012, 04:38 AM   #1
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Default Michigan Keg Laws - Keeping Kegs

Sorry if this is the wrong forum, I didn't see anywhere else that catered to legalities of beer and kegs and such.

I'm a Michigan resident, and I currently have three commercial kegs sitting around. All are empty, and I haven't bothered to return them yet as the stupid stickers that are required to be on them feel off...yes, ALL THREE stickers are gone. The first two, on the steel kegs fell off just about immediately, during the hour long drive home. The last one, on the plastic keg just tore and only half is remaining.

After reviewing the law on the michigan.gov site I didn't really see anything mentioning consumers keeping the kegs...there was a punishment for removing the labels, but nothing about just not returning the kegs.

Onto my question: do I legally HAVE to return these kegs? I already know I'm not getting the deposit...so I'm really not terribly motivated to return them. I'll probably return the plastic one purely because they're a local brewery and I'd rather not screw them over. I've been seriously considering grabbing some sanke kegs for homebrew use anyways (to serve with, not for boiling/fermenting/etc.). I think these will work just fine for a while if I'm not in any legal position to return them. They'll remain complete, I have no desire to use them for anything other then kegging.

And should there be some provision to return them that I overlooked, can't I just say I'm still enjoying the keg? I mean...a guy can keep a keg of beer for a couple years and not finish it, right....granted it may not be the original beer any longer but I'm still using it

Oh, and for anyone who isn't familiar with Michigan's relatively new keg law, stores are now required to put serialized stickers on all kegs, and the buyer must fill out a form with address and drivers license info. Apparently this stops people from supplying minors with beer...it's also very poorly thought out since NOTHING sticks to a cold keg that starts sweating.

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Old 11-27-2012, 07:36 AM   #2
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I'm not sure about the law where you are, but the kegs belong to the brewery. The deposit is just that, a deposit and doesn't cover the cost of the keg. Just incentive to get people to return it.

Lots of people keep them and I'm not sure what rights giving a deposit set by them gives you, but I do know that the brewery still owns them and would like them back. I'm sure that a certain percentage of the price paid for beer is to cover the large amount of money lost every time the kegs aren't returned.

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:19 PM   #3
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Well, as you know, the retailer is prohibited from giving you your deposit.

Furthermore, you *may* be liable for punishment according to the LARA website and from many articles regarding the new keg law.

A person not licensed as a retailer or wholesaler by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and who removes the keg identification tag, allows the removal of the keg, and/or provides false information in the purchase of the beer keg is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500, or both.

You may not have intended to remove the tags, but the fact that you do not have the tags when you return the keg gives the law the right to assume differently. Therefore I'd have to make the conclusion that returning the keg (The right and proper thing to do) might just get you in trouble.

Of course, the retailer may take back the keg and return you your deposit, but they aren't supposed to:

This new requirement was passed and signed into law by Governor Jennifer Granholm, and the requirement says that kegs sold to customers on November 1 and after must have tags on them.

I'd be one of the first to recommend returning the keg, since you are supposed to be buying only the beer inside the keg, not the actual keg. And since the cost of losing a keg can be much higher for the brewer than the deposit price. However, it's a hard sell when actually doing "the right thing" could get you in trouble.

The website actually recommends that retailers apply the tag inside the cooler before the kegs can start to sweat. So they apparently are already aware that sweating kegs could affect adhesion.

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:25 PM   #4
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Couldn't you just duck tape the tags back on and call it good? If they fell off by no fault of your own, I can't see anyone penalizing you for it. Unless, of course, you already chucked the tags.

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:33 PM   #5
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It looks like you need a police friend to return them for you as they can collect the deposit without the labels.

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
Well, as you know, the retailer is prohibited from giving you your deposit.

Furthermore, you *may* be liable for punishment according to the LARA website and from many articles regarding the new keg law.

A person not licensed as a retailer or wholesaler by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission and who removes the keg identification tag, allows the removal of the keg, and/or provides false information in the purchase of the beer keg is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500, or both.

You may not have intended to remove the tags, but the fact that you do not have the tags when you return the keg gives the law the right to assume differently. Therefore I'd have to make the conclusion that returning the keg (The right and proper thing to do) might just get you in trouble.

Of course, the retailer may take back the keg and return you your deposit, but they aren't supposed to:

This new requirement was passed and signed into law by Governor Jennifer Granholm, and the requirement says that kegs sold to customers on November 1 and after must have tags on them.

I'd be one of the first to recommend returning the keg, since you are supposed to be buying only the beer inside the keg, not the actual keg. And since the cost of losing a keg can be much higher for the brewer than the deposit price. However, it's a hard sell when actually doing "the right thing" could get you in trouble.

The website actually recommends that retailers apply the tag inside the cooler before the kegs can start to sweat. So they apparently are already aware that sweating kegs could affect adhesion.
This is another reason why I hesitate to even bring them back. Technically, according to the law, I can be charged with a misdemeanor for bringing them back in this condition. Meanwhile, there are no provisions in the law for how long I am allowed to keep the keg, or if it must be returned at all.

The safe bet here seems to be just to hold on to the kegs for the foreseeable future. Not necessarily because I really want the kegs (I don't really have a problem buying one somewhere else), but because I'm not getting my deposit back, and I'm not putting myself at risk for a misdemeanor any sooner then absolutely necessary.

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Couldn't you just duck tape the tags back on and call it good? If they fell off by no fault of your own, I can't see anyone penalizing you for it. Unless, of course, you already chucked the tags.
By "fell off" I mean they got real soggy and were torn/ripped off and basically destroyed. The one on my half barrel came off while I was hauling it inside, it probably scraped against my jeans, and being so soggy it just wiped right off the keg.

There might be enough of the one sticker to still positively ID it, but there's still a good chunk missing.


In either event, this new law sucks. Unfortunately it's about par for the course for Michigan, the absurdity of this law is pretty low compared to some others. I just wish the morons who made it thought it through before hand. One thing is for sure - I'm not buying any more commercial kegs...so good job with that, Michigan legislators.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:05 PM   #7
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I would just take them back with whats left of the labels and explain what happened. Laws can't change until problems are identified. If you do the right thing and are honest about it, nothing will happen to you.

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Old 11-27-2012, 06:06 PM   #8
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Since this is turning political from the last statement given, this thread will be closed.

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