Moonshine shed: Risky whisky brewed in Liverpool garden outhouse

  • by Daniel Johnson, Liverpool Echo
  • December 6, 2012

A LARGE distilling and bottling factory housing more than 200 litres of spirits and wine was discovered in a Liverpool garden shed.

Fermentation tanks, stills and 500 bottles were found at the shed in Anfield after a joint trading standards and police raid.

Officers found a highly developed operation set up to produce schnapps, brandy and whisky, as well as branded empty bottles including Bells, James, Smirnoff and Glen Moray.

The producer was filling these up before selling them on to customers after leafleting to generate interest.

Trading standards said the estimated street value of the alcohol seized was £5,000, with a potential loss of tax revenue of £8,000.

Initial chemical analysis found the spirit was unlike anything Liverpool council’s alcohol and tobacco unit had ever come across. Gary Baskott, head of the unit, said: “We will take immediate and robust action against these kinds of producers.

"Because we don’t yet know what it is, there’s a potentially massive public health risk and we would urge people only to buy alcohol from legitimate sources.”
Trading Standards were alerted to the plant after a tip-off from a resident a few weeks ago.

Posing undercover, one of their officers bought six bottles of illicit vodka before carrying out chemical tests.

With officers from Merseyside police, trading standards swooped on the garden shed last Thursday before questioning the householder.

Officers said the producer was flavouring the spirit before selling it on at a cut price. It is unclear how long the factory has been operating.

Cllr Tim Moore, council cabinet member for environment, said: “At this time of year there will be a temptation for people to get what appears to be a bargain, but this should be resisted because you do not know what you are buying.

“We do not have the full analysis of the contents of these drinks but, at the very least, they will be inferior to the genuine branded articles and, of course, there could always be health dangers in buying alcohol from unlicensed sources.

"This sort of illegal operation undermines local legitimate trade and we repeat our advice not to buy any alcohol from anything other than genuine licensed outlets.”

Head of Trading Standards, John Mchale, added: “Illicit trade undermines the excellent work enforcement agencies do.”