Didn’t organise drinks in a brewery

Unfortune job for man with auto-brewery syndrome Credit: FrDR Creative commons

A Belgian man who worked at a brewery couldn’t understand why he kept being stopped by the police, breathalysed and then charged for being over the limit.

He was quite adamant that he had not been drinking alcohol but this has been an ongoing problem and in 2019 he lost his driving licence for a period of time and then once he got it back the situation continued.

Who knew about auto-brewery syndrome?

Finally his smart lawyer discovered that (ironically considering his place of work) there was a recognised and very rare condition known as auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), which is also known as gut fermentation syndrome.

In a very small number of people, a fermentation of ingested carbohydrates in the gastrointestinal tract of the body caused by bacteria or fungi causes the creation of ethanol which would then course an increase in blood alcohol which would be detected by the breathalyser.


Finally, producing evidence from three doctors who examined him independently, the anonymous 40-year-old man’s lawyer convinced the court in Bruges that he suffered from ABS and he was acquitted.
Although ABS is not catching and it is unusual to be born with it, research has indicated that it can be triggered by another disease such as Diabetes or Crohn’s.

In many cases those who suffer from ABS display no signs of drunkenness and can (as shown by this victim) act quite normally although others can display symptoms of being slightly the worse for wear or even suffer hangovers without having enjoyed a drink.

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Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing newsdesk@euroweeklynews.com, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page www.facebook.com/EuroWeeklyNews