Home brew warnings after death
Monday 14 Jan 2013 6:39 p.m.
Friends of a teenager who died after drinking home-brewed spirits say he sculled two bottles in quick succession.
The death of Tyson Devon has put the spotlight on the growing home brew industry, which insists there's no danger as long as brewers follow the rules and drinkers don't overindulge.
The impact of the tragic birthday party are still evident two days after the death of 18-year-old Mr Devon.
“He was drinking home brew, then he spewed up,” says friend Billie Jean Simon. “He drank some more home brew then he spewed up, then he drank some more and then he waddled himself at the back.”
The sister of friend Hayden Morris, who was celebrating his 18th, says the home brew spirits were a present from her brother's boss.
“He fell to the ground then he got back up, then fell again,” says Ms Simon.
But he never regained consciousness.
Family say Mr Devon was only drinking for about 10 minutes, but in that time he knocked back two one-litre bottles of homebrew spirits.
Toxicologist Chip Gresham says the problem with home-brewed alcohol is it's hard to gauge how strong it is.
“The potential is definitely there if people aren't doing this correctly and following instructions on these home brew kits,” says Mr Gresham. “The potential is there for severe complications or death.”
“You'll capture it here at about 95 percent, then it's up to you to water it back to 40 percent,” says Peter Morgan, a home brew store owner.
Mr Morgan owns homebrew stores in Mt Eden and in Papakura, where the party was on Saturday. He believes he didn't sell the kit that Mr Devon drank, but says home brewers must follow the instructions.
“Basically if you follow the processes, the instructions, the YouTube videos, the advice you get in the shops, I guarantee you you're going to make a good product,” says Mr Morgan.
A post-mortem on Mr Devon was being carried out this afternoon.