A group of drinking pals have refused to allow a Mid-Bedfordshire brewery die, taking over its licence to breathe new life into it.

The Ampthill Brewhouse — formerly the Ampthill Brewery — has launched with three different ales and a desire to be at the heart of its community, even offering its beers at cost price to raise money for worthy local causes.

It was the pipe dream of Lee Schopp and a group of friends and acquaintances who decided to act fast when they learned the previous brewery was on the verge of closing.

Lee said: “We were simply not prepared to see brewing end in the town. Within days we had a solid core of friends and drinkers all prepared to invest — it really galvanised the community and within a fortnight we were having to turn away investors.

“We are living proof that if people feel strongly enough about something, they will put their money where their mouth is. Everyone is giving their time for free and we are utilising the expertise amongst us — marketeers, accountants, sales, legal eagles… this is a real team effort.”

The three beers are light and refreshing Session Ale (3.4% ABV), smooth Golden Ale (4.1%) and classic hoppy India Pale Ale (4.5%), with a dark twist.

A growing number of pubs and shops in Mid-Bedfordshire are now stocking the ales and plans are in place to further increase the range and customer base in 2016.

Lee added: “This isn’t a vanity project and we are under no illusions that we could all lose a considerable amount of money, but we love our beer, love our community and we genuinely believe this might just work.”

Community group keeps brewing alive in Ampthill