In a quiet moment yesterday evening I began flicking through a random old trade magazine. As you do. "Brewing Trade Review 1947" it was. One of my purchases from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling auction. Within 5 minutes I'd found half a dozen items I could post about. Or use in The Book.
I've chosen for your delectation an odd tale of illicit brewing. There's one thing I don't quite understand. How, during the war, could they get hold of brewing materials without the authorities knowing?
28th May, 1947
BEFORE MR. JUSTICE STABLE
R. v. Houghton
Illicit Brewing of Beer
Mrs. Margaret A. Houghton, of Lulworth Avenue, Preston, was sent to prison for six months in the second division, and here son, Mr. Bernard Houghton, was sent to prison for 12 months, after they had pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the Customs and Excise of £4,520 in beer duty.
Mr. J. Robertson Crichton represented the prosecution and Mr. E. Rowson, K.C., represented the defendants.
Mr. Crichton said that Mrs. Houghton bought the Falcon Inn, Preston, which was a home-berwing house, in 1939. In August 1942, the house was not paying very well and a secret brewing plant was set up in the domestic quarters of the inn. In 1946 the inn was sold to a Mr. G.W. Shawcross, who discovered the secret plant and reported the matter to the Customs and Excise authorities. It was estimated that the equivalent of 350 barrels, or 12,600 gallons, of beer had been brewed secretly. The son, who joined the Army in 1939, was invalided out with a weak heart in 1941 and assisted his mother in the business.
Mr. Rowson said that when Mrs. Houghton took over the Falcon Inn she had no experience in the trade before. She had sold the inn for £6,000 and had paid off a mortgage of £3,200. What was left she was quite prepared to pay to the Treasury.
Mr. Justice Stable, passing sentence, said it was distressing to see a lady of Mrs. Houghton's age (67) in such a position, but he could not possibly let the matter pass.
"Brewing Trade Review 1947", page 478.
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