New brewery will help teach people with learning disabilities to brew beer

  • Watch the full report by ITV News Meridian's Mel Bloor

A brewery which trains people with learning disabilities and autism to brew beer has been launched in Reading.

Count Me In Collective is the idea of husband and wife duo, John and Becky Whinnerah.

The couple say they were inspired to start their own brewery by their youngest daughter who has a rare genetic condition and their son who is autistic.

The brewery began making beer this summer and is launching its second, a classic black IPA, this week.

The brewery's first beer 'Count Me In Pale Ale' went on sale in July Credit: ITV News Meridian

Becky Whinnerah said: "The statistics for employment for someone with autism is something like 22%. For those with learning disabilities, it plummets to about 5% so I felt like I was in a unique position to so something about this and I want to change that outlook for people with these disabilities."

Once it's raised enough funds, the training brewery will be permanently based at The Castle Tap pub in Reading.

In the meantime, it's teamed up with another local brewery, Elusive Brewing, to make beer.

Elusive Brewing's Managing Director, Ruth Mitchell said: "As a brewery, we really want to give back to our local community if we can.

Some of the trainee brewers in action Credit: Becky Whinnerah

"We feel very strongly that beer is for everyone, it shouldn't matter who you are and it should be open and available.

"Having the opportunity to help different people get involved in brewing is a real positive for us."

As well as giving people the chance to learn new skills, the brewery also hopes to one day offer paid employment.

Becky Whinnerah added: "If it grows the way I hope it will, I want to be offering employment to people, I want to be facilitating employment in other breweries and also in the hospitality trade.

"Because we'll be based in a pub, the pub is also going to be involved with helping train aspects of hospitality as well. That's what I want, I want that dignity and fairness for people with disabilities in the world of work."

Surrey GP and cancer survivor stars in national TV and ad campaign >

Chicken pox warning after 6-year-old boy suffers near fatal reaction >