Home brewing has Singaporeans hop-ping for joy
Since rules were relaxed in 2008 to allow home-brewing without a licence, more here have got in on the action.
Interest groups here estimate that 100 to 300 people brew at least once a month or once a year, and that the community numbers about 1,000 people.
Ms Laura Rutland, 36, social secretary for non-profit society, Craft Brew Asia, attributes the interest to the popularity of craft beer here.
"Craft beer is hugely varied with many flavours, so people try creating their own flavours," Ms Rutland said.
Earlier this month, three Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students were told to stop brewing activities in their hostel.
They had brewed about 10 batches (about 400 bottles) of Binjai Brew - named after their hostel - from last September to this February, and were paid for the beer by some friends.
According to the Singapore Customs website, individuals do not require a licence to home-brew beer and other fermented liquors if they fulfil a set of conditions.
This includes the brewer being above 18, the home-brewing being carried out in the brewer's home, and that the manufactured liquor be for personal use and not for sale.
Ms Rutland said more people have been turning up for Craft Brew's group demonstrations to brew small batches of beer together.
"They may not have the resources to brew at home, or face other constraints such as lack of space and family members who may not like the smell of the fermentation," she said.
Ms Rutland said that she has seen kaya toast and chilli flavoured beer, among others.
Mr Neo Say Wee, 41, founder of HomeBrew Co-Op, said that many from the tight-knit community enjoy being able to brew from scratch.
"To share their creation with friends and family members gives many home brewers a great sense of satisfaction," he told The New Paper.
HomeBrew Co-Op is one of two sources where home-brewers can get their beer brewing kits from.
The other is iBrew.
While the scene is growing, not all home-brewers are keen to go commercial.
Mr Tay Dao Qian, 25, has been brewing beer for seven years, experimenting with flavours like coffee and tea.
The NTU business undergraduate brews a 19-litre batch once every other month, under the limit of 30 litres set by Singapore Customs.
"Contrary to popular belief, it isn't about the alcohol, but the fun in the process of the brewing," he said.
Mr James Grieve, 33, a physics researcher, said: "I do have a few friends who have made the leap into professional brewing over the years. I don't think it's for me... it would take away the fun, turning a hobby into work."
But Dr Paul Masters, 42, who works in the healthcare sector, hopes to see more people take up the Excise Factory Scheme, under which microbreweries can brew up to 1.8 million litres of beer.
"This small-batch brewery licence for homebrewers will help to create home-grown talent that could bring a truly Singaporean flavour to Oktoberfest," Dr Masters said.