Dining With Denise Neil

River City beer vandals empty entire keg — and are caught on camera

People do all kinds of stupid things when they’re drinking, and River City Brewing Co. owner Chris Arnold has seen it all.

For the most part, he said, he’s able to laugh it off as an occupational hazard.

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But customers who waste one of his favorite beers – that makes him angry.

On Monday, Arnold posted a surveillance video of two such customers, who, after last call on Friday night, drained an entire keg of his anniversary beer, Leopold Bros. Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter. On their way out the door, when no one but the camera was watching, they turned on the tap, took a few selfies and then left.

Bar managers cleaning up for the night noticed the open tap about 40 minutes later, but all the beer – about 120 pints – was either down the drain or pooling on the floor behind the downstairs bar. Arnold estimates that about $682 worth of beer was wasted.

Worse – it was the last keg of it, and the brewery makes it only once a year for its March anniversary.

“It’s an expensive beer, and people love it,” he said. “And what really made me mad is that his buddy was video-ing him.”

It all started after the Eric Church concert let out on Friday night and River City’s upstairs venue, The Loft, started filling up with after-concert crowds. The downstairs bar and restaurant was already closed.

The two men, both wearing ball caps, were among the last of the crowd to leave the bar after last call. It was almost 2 a.m.

The doorman, who normally escorts people downstairs and out the door, decided that these customers were harmless. They were silly and even gave him a hug. So he stayed upstairs to help with cleanup.

The surveillance video shows the two men barreling down the stairs. They’re headed for the door when they stop and look at the unattended bar. One of them takes out his phone and starts filming the other as he fidgets with things behind the bar. He grabs a glass, turns a tap on and fills the glass. His buddy then dumps the glass out and watches it start to fill again. Then they both leave as the tap continues to flow.

They never even take a drink.

“It was our mistake,” Arnold said. “We’re supposed to follow them out. But literally, the doorman said, ‘The guy was so nice. I didn’t even give it a second thought.’ ”

On Monday, Arnold went straight to the surveillance video and found footage of the incident. He took three shots, all of which show the perpetrators’ faces pretty clearly, and posted them to Facebook. As of Monday afternoon, the video had been shared more than 700 times, and Arnold had heard from someone who claimed to know who the men were.

Arnold and several other bar owners around town have increasingly turned to Monday-morning surveillance video shaming on social media to help find people who stole from them over the weekend.

Arnold said this is the second time he’s posted something. The first time, a woman had crawled over the bar and grabbed a whole bottle of vodka. Within 30 minutes of him posting footage, someone called and named her, and not long after, she called and begged Arnold to remove the video. He said he would if she turned herself in to police, which she did.

In this case, he said, he’d be willing to accept payment for the full amount of the wasted beer from the men in the video. Otherwise, he plans to turn the video over to police.

“This was big,” he said “They dumped a bunch of beer on the ground. It was pretty stupid.”