Doh! Duff beer costs pounds 4,000

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THE CARTOON character Homer Simpson is such a worldwide cultural icon that cases of his favourite beer - which has been banned by a judge - are changing hands at up to pounds 4,000 each.

In the week that Homer was given his very own slab in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it emerged that fans of the patriarch of The Simpsons are dealing in rare cases of his Duff Beer on the Internet.

Duff Beer was produced by the South Australian Brewing Company last year in homage to the world's most popular nuclear power-plant worker. It looks just like the beer Homer drinks, so 20th Century Fox, makers of The Simpsons, and Matt Groening, the cartoon's creator, took the brewery to court for trading off their show.

An Australian judge watched several hours of the series and decided that Homer regularly consumed Duff Beer, often "in copious quantities". So brewery owner Lion Nathan was told to stop making and marketing it.

The beer is now rapidly rising in price as it becomes a rarity. When it was on open sale, a case of 24 cans cost A$15 (pounds 5.60). Now a six-pack is being advertised on the Internet for A$750 and cases for up to A$6,300 each. One collector claims he can get A$1,000 a can.

Homer's fondness for beer is well chronicled - one of his catchphrases is "Beer me". Roger Cooper, who offers beer for sale on the Internet, shares his passion: "I have a six-pack of Duff left unopened and the carton I bought the 24 cans in." On discovering its new value, he added plaintively: "I had a lot more but I drank it." To which Homer's reply would be: "Doh!"

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