Food & Drinks

Pirates of the Cari-beer-an: Underwater Beer-Aging Project Foiled by Deep-Diving Thieves

While it’s long been thought that pirates prefer rum, it’s clear now that they also have a taste for beer.

In Mar del Plata, a seaside city in the Argentine province of Buenos Aires, thieves have stolen seven barrels of artisanal beer that was aging in a sunken ship, according to the New York Times. Three local breweries had collaborated with a diving team to carry out the experimental beer-making project, only to be devastated just months into their trial.

Carlos Brelles, owner of the Thalassa Diving School, and Eduardo Ricardo, one of the owners of Heller Brewery, spearheaded the experiment after discussing the possibility of aging beer at greater depths (and under greater pressure) than ever before. Their plan involved attaching barrels of dark ale to the Kronomether, an abandoned Soviet-era ship that sank in 2014, 66 feet below the surface.

After several months spent waiting for permits, the seven barrels of ale were affixed to the ship on Nov. 22, 2020. Though their combined capacity was 185 gallons, the experiment was supposed to yield 264 gallons of beer, as the aged brew would later be mixed with another beer. Enough to fill around 2,000 bottles of “Kronomether,” proceeds from the sales were intended to be donated to a local natural science museum.

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On Feb. 23, one day before the project’s completion, Brelles discovered the beer was missing. The barrels had been present as recently as mid-January, and Brelles believes they may have been stolen in an act of sabotage.

Juan Pablo Vincent, the master brewer at Baum Brewery, which also participated in the experiment, claims that the contents of the barrels are undrinkable. “If they stole it for their own consumption, they’re going to have to throw it away,” he told the Times. “It was a lukewarm, gasless liquor that would be very difficult to drink.”

Whatever the reason, the brewers are not giving up on their mission, and intend to start the experiment again.


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