FBI takes over investigation into US brewing equipment manufacturerBy Phoebe French
The FBI has taken over an investigation into a manufacturer of brewing equipment that is accused of defrauding craft breweries across the US out of tens of thousands of dollars.
SysTech Stainless Works and its founders Jason and Amanda Spurrell have been accused of defrauding clients who had paid deposits for new brewing systems which they never received.
Craft breweries located in different US states have said that they received either defective equipment, or no equipment at all, after sending deposits amounting to tens of thousands of dollars to the company, based in Canton, Ohio.
In September 2017, the company went bust and told customers that it could not return their deposits.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has been investigating the case and called in Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation for assistance. The information collected by the BCI has now been passed on to the FBI’s Manassas office in Virginia.
Sinistral Brewing Co., also based in Manassas, is one of the breweries that have filed a lawsuit against SysTech. According to the brewery, it lost a deposit totalling $70,165.
In the lawsuit, it stated: “We believe that Jason and Amanda created this business as a means to get money from breweries and did not have the intention of fulfilling the equipment orders”.
Also taking action against the brewing equipment manufacturer is Hoodletown Brewing Co, based in Dover, Ohio. According to co-founders Eric Kinsey and Mike Poland, they lost a $40,000 deposit for a new five-barrel system.
Among the other craft breweries also taking action are Lock 15 Brewing Co. based in Ohio; Moose Lake Brewing Co based in Minnesota; Sideways Farm & Brewery in North Carolina, and A Little Madness Brewing Co. in Florida.