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Bureaucrats ban brewers' binge

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14:29 CET+01:00
The annual championship to find Sweden's best home brewer is under threat, after bureaucrats at a health watchdog decided that the competition broke the law.

The Swedish Home Brewers Association (SHBF) had planned to hold this year's championship in Kalmar on 1st April, but now a ruling from the Swedish National Institute for Public Health has said the championship would break the law.

The health watchdog claims that while home-brewing is allowed if the alcohol is to be consumed by a small circle of friends and family, it is not allowed to serve to any wider group of people.

The ruling also says that an entry fee charged for those attending the championship amounts to illegal sale of alcohol.

Beer enthusiasts are up in arms over the ban.

Dan Nilsson, chairman of the Swedish Home Brewers Association, said there was a "fundamental view in Sweden that beer is a cheep drink to get drunk on... we see this as a tragedy, and want to work to make beer an exclusive and tasty drink." He also pointed out that many now-renowned Swedish breweries, such as Stockholm's Nils-Oscar brewery and the Närke Culture Brewery, had their roots in the home brewing movement.

SHBF has held its national championships for the past 17 years, and had previously won support for this year's competition from the county administrative board in Kalmar. But they hadn't reckoned with the unbending attitude of the alco-police.

"The National Institute for Public Health has focused entirely on finding every possible objection to the arrangement of the Swedish Championship in home brewed beer, instead of highlighting the possibilities for this kind of event that the law allows," said an SHBF spokesman.

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