Paul Krutzfeldt watches the canning process at Great River Brewery in Davenport in 2010. The 800-pound canning line machine was stolen earlier this week. (John Schultz/QUAD-CITY TIMES FILE PHOTO)

John Schultz

An 800-pound canning line machine was stolen Sunday night or early Monday from Great River Brewery, 322 E. 2nd St., Davenport.

Cellarman Tyler Krutzfeldt said the theft couldn’t have been a one-man job.

“We’re shocked this happened,” he said Wednesday, still cleaning up from the theft and forging ahead with business with the help of donated equipment from other local breweries.

When staff came in about 7:30 a.m. Monday, they found aluminum cans were all over the floor, grain sacks were cut open and grain was on the floor and air lines that supply compressed air also were cut, Krutzfeldt said. Then they discovered that their canning line machine had been taken from the warehouse and two coolers were missing from the production area, he added.

There were no signs of forced entry.

“Someone must have snuck in,” Krutzfeldt said.

The last employee left sometime after Sunday’s 6 p.m. closing time and the locks were checked, he said.

The 10-foot-long machine is too large to be carried out by hand.

Brew master Paul Krutzfeldt said someone must have used his fork lift, which he found in a nearby alley.

He said he’s looking to replace the machine, which is valued at $70,000 to $100,000. He called it the most important piece of equipment he owns besides the kettle that brews the beer.  

Because 70 percent of his business is canning and distributing to 10 distributors in six states, not having the canning line machine has temporarily brought his businesses to “sort of” a halt, Paul Krutzfeldt said.

“It puts a damper on what’s been a fantastic summer in the Quad-Cities,” he said.

He relocated the brewery from Iowa City to Davenport in 2009.

In the meantime, instead of cans, they’re putting beer into kegs until he can buy a replacement canning line machine, possibly as early as next week, he said.

Krutzfeldt said a brewery in Nebraska has offered to can his beer until he gets his canning operation back up and running.

“It’s a bad scene, and it sucks,” he said. “But the outpouring of support already from the Quad-Cities and nationally from the Brewers Association is awesome.”