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Thieves steal 600-litres of beer that was ageing underwater

Three breweries based in Mar del Plata in Argentina have been left mystified after barrels containing 600 litres of beer were stolen from an underwater shipwreck where they were being aged for several months.

Image: iStock

As reported by local news site La Capital, breweries Heller, La Paloma and Baum had teamed up with the Thalassa Diving School in order to carry out an underwater beer ageing project.

Secured in a cage, the barrels of beer were submerged 20 metres underwater in November last year. The breweries had obtained permission to house them in the wreck of the Koronomether, a Soviet-era ship which was abandoned in the Port city in 1991 three miles off the coast.

However, when divers attempted to recover the barrels last week, they were gone.

The breweries believe that thieves removed barrels from the shipwreck, and have reported the incident to the local authorities.

Juan Pablo Vincent, owner of Baum brewery, told La Capital: “It was a very educational project: we knew it [ageing beer underwater] was being done in other parts of the world but never before had it been done here and so deep. We lost money but more than anything, what bothers us is that this project had sentimental value and they took away the possibility for us to learn from it.”

The intention was to blend the contents of the barrels with another beer producing around 1,000 litres in total. This would equate to 2,000 bottles, which were due to be sold under the brand name Koronomether.

All the proceeds from the sale of the beer were to be given to the nearby natural sciences museum Lorenzo Scaglia. There was also an arrangement in place to allow students to analyse the results of the underwater experiment.

The breweries believe that rather than bringing the barrels to dry land, they were intentionally dismantled and set loose underwater.

According to the New York Times, the barrels were last checked on 19 January by Carlos Brelles, owner of the Thalassa Diving School.

Brelles told the publication: “I think they broke everything so the barrels would drift away. It was malice for malice’s sake. We can’t let them win. We have to do it again.”

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