Argentinian beer pirates make off with 185 gallons of yeasty plunder

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Man dressed as pirate holds up mug of beer
Photo: Tom Kelley Archive / Stringer (Getty Images)

Stealing 185 gallons of craft beer is an impressive feat. Diving 66 feet underwater to steal 185 gallons of craft beer attached to a sunken ship on the ocean floor? That’s Danny Ocean–level piracy—but that’s exactly what happened in the coastal city of Mar del Plata, Argentina.

The New York Times reports that the owners of the three breweries in Mar del Plata teamed up with a diving school for a “monthslong experiment in deep-water beermaking.” The day before the barrels were scheduled to surface, the team discovered that the barrels were gone. “I started crying,” diving instructor Carlos Brelles told the Times. “Three or four people without morals destroyed the work of so many people who put in so much effort.”

This wasn’t the first beer to be aged underwater, but it was the first beer aged at such an extreme depth. The idea was to age the beer under greater pressure—so the team spent more than a year securing permits to affix the barrels to the Kronomether, an abandoned Soviet-era ship 66 feet underwater. They lowered a total of seven barrels into the ocean back in November, planning to combine the barrel-aged beer with another beer, resulting in a custom-made brew to support a local natural science museum.


Who snatched the grog, me hearties? The team still has no clue. The purpose of the brew was to mix it with another beer, so the thieves probably didn’t steal it for their own consumption. “It was a lukewarm, gasless liquor that would be very difficult to drink,” one of the brewers told the Times. The only other plausible possibility? Sudsy sabotage.