A HAMPSHIRE homebrewer has found himself tangled in masses of redtape, after wanting to sell his beer to a few friends.

Real ale lover Robert Shields who produces just 100 pints a month of his Moorlands and Runnymede bitters, has had to register as an official brewery, get two further licences and convert his shed into a bonded warehouse.

He then had to get a personal licence to sell alcohol and go on a training course before police ran a criminal record check on him.

Finally authorities demanded he put up notices in front of his house and take out official adverts in the Daily Echo.

Mr Shields, from Bishop’s Waltham, said: “I’m proud of my beer. I only started making it six months ago. I understand the need for all of this for an off licence or a pub, but it’s bit over the top for someone who wants to sell beer to their friends. This is not a public business but I still have to put up a notice saying I’m selling beer. Even though I’m not.

It’s only to friends.”

A spokesman for the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “It’s right that if you are selling it to people then you have to make sure it is of a demonstrable quality.

“I would suggest that he continues as a home brewer and shares it with his friends and if they want to chip in and help him buy the ingredients then there’s nothing wrong with that.”


BREWING red tape demanded that Mr Shields:

• Register as a brewery
• Start to measure the alcohol content of his beer
• Record the amount of malt he buys
• Create a bonded warehouse in his shed
• Pay duty of 20p a bottle
• Obtain a personal licence to sell alcohol
• Go on a one-day course
• Have his criminal record checked by police
• Obtain a premises licence for the sale of beer
• Pin up notices outside the front of his house
• Take out newspaper advertisements