Real-Life Grinch Steals Giant Ball of Gin from Lake Constance

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There’s an old joke in the cyber security world that the safest way to protect your computer is to encase it in steel and drop it in the bottom of a lake. Thanks to some news out of Switzerland this week, though, it seems like that old saying needs some revision: apparently, a nearly 800 kg (~1,760 pound) steel ball full of gin has been stolen from the bottom of Lake Constance.


Artisanal gin has admittedly gotten a bit… strange. It makes sense though — since the basic blueprint for gin is so simple, distilleries are trying everything they can think of to differentiate themselves and add value to their particular gin.

In that ever-increasing game of trying to find innovative and quirky ways to flavor and market their product, the folks at fishgroup — a Swiss company specializing in event planning who also happen to distill gin — started a unique tradition a few years ago. For their Christmas release, they would take a batch of their TEN Bodensee Gin (which uses a maceration technique with their botanicals as with a traditionally London Dry Gin), seal it in a stainless steel sphere, and sink it to the bottom of the local lake for a period of time.


What does that do to the flavor? Well, since stainless steel isn’t permeable, there isn’t much interaction with the flavors of the local seabed. (Which is a good thing, since releasing that much alcohol into the lake seems like a bit of an ecological disaster.) In theory, the resulting gin is much the same as white wine matured in stainless steel: simply a mellowing and combining of the flavors in a more pleasant manner.

And it seems to be a hit, as all of the bottles from this year’s underwater adventure had already been sold before the distillery successfully dropped the ball. There’s just one problem: it seems like when the distillery went to take their ball and go home, some SCUBA scammers had beaten them to their sunken treasure.


From their website (translated via Google):

Unfortunately we have to inform you that our gin scoop was stolen from the lake. It is incomprehensible to us that something like this is happening and that there are such brazen people who do something like this. A police report has already been made. We will contact everyone who has already ordered and paid for one or more bottles.
Of course we’ll try everything to get the ball back.
Thank you for your understanding and cheers. Your Ginial team

According to local reports, the company enlisted the help of the local police when they discovered the theft. The police helped them scan the bottom of the lake using sonar and other techniques but to no avail — both the giant metal sphere, as well as the nearly half-ton concrete slab on which it was anchored, have disappeared.


Given the lack of currents in the lake and the relatively stable lake bed, the probability that the ball could have simply vanished in 23 meters of water is remote. Local experts believe that this is most likely a well-equipped thief who made off with the boozy prize in the middle of the night, as the effort would have taken significant planning and support to accomplish. Lifting almost a ton of material off the bottom of a lake is something that takes more than a couple floaties to accomplish.

The distillery remains undeterred — they are contacting those who made pre-orders of the gin, and this thankfully won’t sink the distillery financially either (despite the fact that their insurance company is refusing to pay for the replacement value of the gin). And hopefully next year they will put their gin in a slightly more secure location, wherever that may be.


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