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Thieves have struck Uberbrew, but it wasn’t beer they made disappear.

Eight 70-quart heavy-duty plastic muck tubs were stolen from behind the Montana Avenue brewery Saturday night by at least two people in a white pickup.

Security video posted to the Uberbrew Facebook page Sunday shows the driver of a white pickup angling up to the stacked tubs in the lot behind Uberbrew, while another person picks up and tosses the tubs into the bed of the truck. The person then gets into the passenger side of the truck, which drives away. 

To the folks who stole our muck tubs: a) Smile you are on camera. b) Please bring them back and c) We are a small company with limited resources. We need those to make beer. Thanks

Posted by Überbrew on Sunday, February 21, 2016

Brewing their Hi-Line Porter on Sunday, co-owner and head brewer Mark Hastings and other Uberbrew staff noticed some of the muck tubs were missing when the time came to fill them with spent grain.

Hastings said the plastic muck tubs are used to hold spent grain after a sugar solution of naturally occurring enzymes and starches, known as wort, has been extracted from wet grain in a 310-gallon stainless steel tub known as a mash tub.

“What’s left over is the spent grain,” Hastings said. “The neat thing is, it’s full of protein and fiber. It’s a great supplement to a foraging diet for animals like hogs, cattle and goats.”

Hastings said Uberbrew has an arrangement with a local man to pick up the tubs and dispose of the tons of spent grain brewing produces at no cost, a practice he said is not uncommon for breweries.

“When he’s done feeding his animals, he just brings them back to us and we do it all over again, so it’s a nice supplemental feed to farmers and ranchers in the area,” Hastings said.

The total value of the plastic tubs is around $150, Hastings said.

Since opening at 2305 Montana Ave., in 2012, Hastings said Uberbrew has sporadically dealt with the theft of employee bikes and break-ins into employee cars but said most items were recovered with the help of the Billings Police Department.

He was initially reluctant to report the theft but Hastings said BPD urged him to on the basis that the theft report could at some point tie-in to other investigations of area crimes.

Beer production is not expected to be affected by the theft, but its consumption might see an uptick. The security footage has been shared over 500 times on Facebook, leaving Hastings and Uberbrew management impressed and grateful for the show of community support. 

“The neatest part I think is that the community really rallied around one of the local brewers and said, 'Hey we’re tired of this, let’s help these guys out,'" Hastings said.

“It’s amazing how many people came to our aid on this.”


Night Reporter

General assignment reporter for The Billings Gazette.