Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita Brewery’s response to truck stealing-thieves: Grand Theft Ale

Remember, just before Christmas, when Wichita Brewing Company had its silver Ridgeline truck stolen?

The owners do. They got the truck back, but they’re dealing with body damage left by the thieves.

Still, beer guys tend to have a pretty good sense of humor, even about things as serious as grand theft auto. Case in point: On Jan. 16, Wichita Brewing Company owners Greg Gifford and Jeremy Horn will release a new beer brewed as an ode to the 24 harrowing hours when two thieves were driving their truck (which is decorated with large Wichita Brewing Company decals) all over east Wichita.

They’re calling it “Grand Theft Ale.”

The truck was initially stolen on the morning of Dec. 13, and brewery owners immediately posted a picture on Facebook asking customers and followers to keep a lookout for it.

Several people messaged the brewery, saying they’d spotted the truck at two places on the east side, including at Towne East Square. On the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 14, police responded to a tip from a citizen who’d seen the truck at a Valero on East 21st Street North. After a short chase, the police had the truck, and later, they arrested two men: a 23-year-old on suspicion of auto theft and felony evade and elude and a 21-year-old in connection with unrelated warrants.

Gifford said the truck was mostly okay when it was returned, but the thieves had tried and failed to remove the large, identifying WBC logos from it, resulting in nasty, deep scratches in the paint job.

The beer is a thank-you to all the people on social media who helped locate the truck, and to the police who recovered it.

“The power of social media is pretty impressive,” Gifford said.

A portion of sales from the beer will go to the Wichita Police Foundation to help the Wichita Police Department, he said.

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