About CAMRA

Campaigning for real ale, pubs & drinkers’ rights since 1971

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CAMRA campaigns for real ale, real pubs and consumer rights. We are an independent, voluntary organisation with over 90,000 members and have been described as the most successful consumer group in Europe. CAMRA promotes good-quality real ale and pubs, as well as acting as the consumer’s champion in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry. We aim to: – Protect and improve consumer rights – Promote quality, choice and value for money – Support the public house as a focus of community life – Campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of our national heritage and culture – Seek improvements in all licensed premises and throughout the brewing industry.

Founded in 1971, CAMRA is possibly the world’s most successful consumer organisation and now has more than 130,000 members.  Over the years, it has succeeded in persuading breweries to continue or re-start brewing real, cask-conditioned ale and to publish for the first time the strength of their beers.  It has campaigned to save breweries from closure and encouraged the spectacular growth of small breweries over the past three decades – approximately 700 breweries in Britain now brew more than 2,500 different real ales, more than at any time since the Second World War.  CAMRA has also been at the forefront of campaigning for reform of both the licensing laws and of the tied house system and unfair leases which many tenants must endure.

CAMRA has vociferously opposed the closure of many community pubs, which are threatened by unfair ties and leases, high beer prices and competition from unregulated supermarket cut-price offers. CAMRA also publishes the national Good Beer Guide – now in its 39th edition – and the leading guide to Britain’s best pubs and beer.  This is the only guide for which the entries are democratically selected by CAMRA members at local level.

CAMRA is organised nationally into local area “branches” of volunteer members, supported by a small full-time team at national HQ in St Albans and various elected national volunteer committees, including the National Executive. Members organise many social events including regular beer festivals, such as the Richmond Ale Festival each October and the national Great British Beer Festival in London every August.

Why not join us today if you care about great quality real ale and pubs?

You are most welcome to attend your local CAMRA meeting and to get involved in your local branch. Branch activities range from socials which can include visiting local pubs and breweries to running a beer festival or producing a local newsletter and guide.

Getting involved in your local branch is a great way to find out more about CAMRA’s campaigns and real ale. Please visit www.camra.org.uk for further information.

CAMRA News

1

Champion Beer of Britain 2016

CAMRA are pleased to announce this year’s Champion Beers of Britain as follows:

Supreme Champions

Gold
Binghams – Vanilla Stout
Silver
Old Dairy – Snow Top
Bronze
Tring – Death or Glory

Mild

Gold
Williams Brother – Williams Black
Silver
Mighty Oak – Oscar Wilde
Bronze
Acorn – Darkness

Best Bitter

Gold
Surrey Hills – Shere Drop
Silver
Salopian – Darwin’s Origin
Joint Bronze
Colchester – Colchester No.1

Tiny Rebel – Cwtch

Speciality

Gold
Binghams – Vanilla Stout
Silver
Titanic – Plum Porter
Bronze
Saltaire – Triple Chocoholic

Bitter

Gold
Timothy Taylor – Boltmaker
Silver
Tiny Rebel – Hank
Joint Bronze
Hawkshead – Bitter

Salopian – Shropshire Gold

Golden

Gold
Golden Triangle – Mosaic City
Silver
Grey Trees – Diggers Gold
Bronze
Marble – Lagonda IPA

Strong Bitter

Gold
Heavy Industry – 77
Silver
Hawkshead – NZPA
Bronze
Adnams – Ghost Ship

Champion Beer of Britain 2015

CAMRA are pleased to announce this year’s Champion Beers of Britain as follows:

Supreme Champions

Gold
Tiny Rebel – Cwtch
Silver
Kelburn – Jaguar
Bronze
Dancing Duck – Dark Drake

Champion Bottled Beer

Gold
Harveys – Imperial Extra Double Stout
Silver
Fyne Ales – Superior IPA
Bronze
Mordue – India Pale Ale

Mild

Gold
Williams Brother – Black
Silver
Rudgate – Ruby Mild
Bronze
Great Orme – Welsh Black

Best Bitter

Gold
Tiny Rebel – Cwtch
Silver
Highland – Scapa Special
Joint Bronze
Barngates – Tag Lag
Salopian – Darwin’s Origin

Speciality

Gold
Titanic – Plum Porter
Joint Silver
Kissingate – Black Cherry Mild
Saltaire – Triple Chocolate
Bronze
Hanlons – Port Stout

Bitter

Gold
Pheasantry – Best Bitter
Silver
Acorn – Barnsley Bitter
Joint Bronze
Purple Moose – Madog’s Ale
Timothy Taylors – Boltmaker

Golden

Gold
Kelburn – Jaguar
Silver
Adnams – Explorer
Bronze
Blue Monkey – Infinity

Strong Bitter

Gold
Dark Star – Revelation
Silver
Salopian – Golden Thread
Bronze
Grain – Indian Pale Ale

Cider/Perry Campaign

Landlord’s Nightmare or Untapped Business opportunity?

We’ve all seen a forlorn tub of cider balanced on the end of the bar – as the licensee tries his hand (again) at selling real cider – probably in the height of summer.

It’s fine for a few days, with customers trying the odd pint or two (at 6.5%abv they daren’t drink too much), but then it starts to turn a little sharp and then quickly becomes unpalatable, resulting in perhaps half a tub of cider being used as drain cleaner.

It’s enough to make the cider maker weep – not to mention those who hand-picked the apples!

In order to satisfy the demand for cider, The licensee is then enticed into the world of kegged and gassed apple-flavoured fizz. The world of the alcoholic fizzy apple-flavoured squash that is 90%+ of the kegged cider market presents a solution that ticks the ‘cider’ box for many publicans.

For many licensees therefore, the selling of real cider poses several problems – not the least of which is the concern that they won’t sell enough, it will go off and they will have to throw it away – which is clearly not what they are in business to do!

However, with a basic understanding of a few salient elements, the selling of cider becomes, not a risky sideline, but an easy way to engage with the rapidly emerging demand for high quality, often locally-sourced products from small scale producers who care passionately about what they make. This is a market I have seen that brings a customer base into pubs who wouldn’t otherwise go there.

All that is needed is an understanding of a few basic points – points incidentally that are very well understood by the kegged ‘cider’ producers.

Firstly, real cider is produced once a year – around September. Many cider makers keep cider back from previous years production to blend with ‘new’ cider in order to keep consistency and to help give depth and roundness to their product. I know of one cider maker who has got cider he made 15 years ago. It is in exceptional condition. Cider therefore does not need to go off. It simply needs to be kept properly – and that is not at the end of the bar counter

Please also note that cider does not need to be ‘fizzed’ or pumped full of preservatives in order to be kept in good condition. If looked after properly it will quite happily keep for months, if not years.

Secondly, real cider is susceptible to the same elements that will make beer ‘go off’, namely air, heat and humidity. You wouldn’t (I hope!) leave a tub of beer balanced on the end of the bar and expect it to remain drinkable for weeks, the same is true with cider.

So, with these two points in mind, we need to transfer theory into practice.

In my pub, we don’t use pumps – all ciders and ales are gravity fed from the Tap Room – which is air-conditioned (as are most pub cellars, thereby dealing with the heat and humidity problems). This works well for us, but I realise it would pose a problem for many to be going backwards and forwards to the cellar every time someone wanted a pint. There are methods out there to connect ‘bag-in-a-box’ to a pump – thereby providing an easy method to dispense real cider in good condition on a consistent basis. If you do go down this route, make sure you use micro-bore pipes and clean them regularly and frequently to avoid yeast build-up problems in the pipes.

We also use a lot of ‘bag-in-a-box’ ciders. Real cider kept in a ‘bag-in-a-box’ in an air-conditioned cellar at around 8-10°C will keep for between 6 and 13 weeks, which should be ample time to sell it. Alternatively, there are systems out there to keep tubs and ‘bag-in-a-box’ drinks at chilled temperatures, often seen at beer festivals.

Finally, real cider and perry in a ‘bag-in-a-box’ should be readily available from almost any wholesale beer supplier – with one or two ‘brands’ being available nationwide. However, with not more than a few minutes spent on the internet, you should be able to track down a local real cider producer, many of whom will be delighted to supply the local pub trade.

Ian Pinches

The Railway Arms, Downham Market – CAMRA National Cider Pub of the Year 2013 and one of the 4 finalists in the 2014 competition.

 CAMRA launches General Election CampaignCAMRA Manifesto Support Logo

With voters heading to the polls on 7th May, now is the perfect time to ensure pubs and real ale are priorities for the next Government.

CAMRA has now launched its General Election campaign and has produced a Manifesto for Pubs and Real Ale.
So far more than 570 candidates (including insert number in insert constituency / branch area) have pledged to:
– Support well-run community pubs
– Promote Britain’s 1,300 breweries
– Represent pub-goers and beer drinkers
CAMRA’s goal is to improve on the 670 candidates who supported us before the 2010 General Election.
CAMRA’s Head of Communications Tom Stainer said: “CAMRA now has around 170,000 members, more than many of the main political parties, so it’s important politicians listen to and reflect the views of our members when it comes to real ale, real cider and perry and pubs.
“Supporting pubs as vital community assets as well as ensuring Britain’s brewing industry gets the support it deserves should be high on any prospective candidates list of priorities.”
Please help support this campaign by:
• Urging your Parliamentary Candidates to sign our pledges
• Ask your Candidate to support CAMRA’s Manifesto via our General Election website: http://ge2015.camra.org.uk/
• Organise a meeting with your local candidates to discuss how they can support CAMRA’s key campaigns
• Attend Hustings events in your local area and ask questions about beer and pubs (for question suggestions contact campaigns@camra.org.uk)
• Use social media to promote the campaign by tweeting @CAMRA_Official or using #ge2015
• Share this campaign: Tell your friends and family all about how they can also get involved

 Key Campaign: Stop Tax Killing Beer & Pubs

Ahead of the Chancellor’s Budget announcement on 18 March we have been working hard to try and secure a historic third consecutive cut in beer duty.

To put forward the case we commissioned a report from the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr) which highlights the benefits of two consecutive beer duty cuts and how they have benefited beer drinkers and pub-goers. We are launching the report on Monday, 23 February.

We urge all members to write to their MPs ahead of the announcement to ensure this year is yet another success for beer drinkers.

Key Campaign: Secure an Effective Government Support Package for Pubs

We continue to put pressure on the Government to strengthen planning laws in England to protect pubs from being demolished or converted without a say from the community. Last month, almost 4,000 members lobbied their local MPs to support an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill which would close those planning loopholes. The Government has bowed to the mounting pressure by promising urgent action to protect current and future pubs listed as Assets of Community Value. These changes should come into effect before the General Election.

While we still want the Government to go further in protecting all pubs through planning laws this is a great first step in the right direction. We are now urging members to start listing their local pub as an Asset of Community Value before they are under threat.

For more information on how to list your local please visit our campaigns page on the CAMRA website or contact our planning advisor Matt Brown by email.

Champion Winter Beer of Britain crowned at National Winter Ales Festival

CAMRA’s Champion Winter Beer of Britain (CWBoB) 2015 competition was held on Wednesday, 11 February at the National Winter Ales Festival in Derby.

The overall winners were:

Gold – Elland Brewery – 1872 Porter
Silver – Purple Moose – Darkside of the Moose
Bronze – Dancing Duck – Dark Drake
You can find the full list of class winners for this year here.

Landmark victory for beer drinkers, pub goers and licensees as Government defeated in Commons vote

Tim Page, CAMRA Chief Executive said:

“Today’s landmark Parliamentary vote helps secure the future of pubs. CAMRA is delighted that, after ten years of our campaigning, MPs have today voted to introduce a market rent only option for licensees tied to the large pub companies – a move that will secure the future of the Great British Pub. 

“The Government was defeated by 284 votes to 259 with MPs from all parties voting in favour of a new clause to the Small Business Bill that will empower pubco licensees to choose between a tied agreement and a market rent only agreement that will allow them to buy beer on the open market. Allowing over 13,000 pub tenants tied to the large pub companies the option of buying beer on the open market at competitive prices will help keep pubs open and ensure the cost of a pint to consumers remains affordable. The large pub companies will no longer be able to charge their tenants prices up to 60 pence a pint higher than open market prices.”

“This simple choice should spell the end of pubco licensees being forced out of business through high rents and tied product prices.

“Thank you to the 8000 CAMRA members and campaigners who lobbied their local MP to help make this happen and to those MPs that voted to support pubs. CAMRA are now urging the Government to accept the outcome of the vote.”

CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide 2015 launched today

CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide is fully revised and updated each year and features pubs across the United Kingdom that serve the best real ale.

The 42nd edition continues to be completely independent with listings based entirely on nomination and evaluation by CAMRA members. This means you can be sure that every one of the 4,500 pubs deserves their place, and comes recommended by people who know a thing or two about good beer.

  • Listings of over 4,500 of the best real ale pubs, with over 1,200 new entries this year
  • Listings include Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, the Isle of Man & the Channel Islands
  • Detailed contact information, facilities listings and opening hours
  • ‘Places Index’ allows quick reference to pubs near you
  • An essential resource for information on over 1,200 breweries

The Good Beer Guide 2015 is available now from the CAMRA shop for £10 (plus P&P)*

Guide shows number of British breweries has grown by over 10%

The Good Beer Guide contains a unique breweries section that lists every brewery currently operating in the UK. An essential resource for punters & publicans.

The 2015 edition of the Guide includes info on 1,285 breweries, a growth of over 10% on last year.

Get your copy of the Good Beer Guide from the CAMRA shop for just £10 (plus p&p)* today and you will be directly funding campaigns like the one below.

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Champion Beer of Britain 2014

CAMRA are pleased to announce this year’s Champion Beers of Britain as follows:

Supreme ChampionsImageProxy
Gold
Timothy Taylor, Boltmaker
Silver
Oakham, Citra
Bronze
Salopian, Darwin’s Origin
Champion Bottled BeerImageProxy (1)
Gold
Marble,Chocolate Marble
Silver
St Austell,Proper Job
Bronze
Spire,Prince Igor Imperial Russian Stout
MildImageProxy (2)
Gold
Bank Top, Dark Mild
Silver
Branscombe Vale, Mild
Bronze
Castle Rock, Black Gold
Best BitterImageProxy (3)
Gold
Salopian, Darwin’s Origin
Silver
Redwillow, Directionless
Joint Bronze
Langton, Inclined Plane Bitter
Purity, Mad Goose
SpecialityImageProxy (4)
Gold
Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic
Silver
Offbeat, Way Out Wheat
Bronze
Peak Ales, Chatsworth Gold
BitterImageProxy (5)
Gold
Timothy Taylor, Boltmaker
Silver
Mighty Oak, Captain Bob
Joint Bronze
Flowerpots, Flowerpots Bitter
Sambrooks, Wandle Ale
GoldenImageProxy (6)
Gold
Oakham, Citra
Silver
Hawkshead, Cumbrian Five Hop
Bronze
Salopian, Hop Twister
Strong BitterImageProxy (7)
Gold
Church End, Fallen Angel
Silver
Blue Monkey, Ape Ale
Bronze
Loch Ness, HoppyNESS

Roll up, roll up…

The Beer Master here! Over the course of the next two and a half weeks a small army of hard-working CAMRA volunteers will be getting ready to open the doors on Britain’s biggest pub, the Great British Beer Festival. Open 12-16 August at Olympia, London.

As you are a member of CAMRA, I already know you are a person of impeccable taste and a discerning palate, so I thought I’d let you know that a sneak peek at our real ale, real cider & real perry lists are available now!

Why not click here to take a look at what you could be enjoying at the festival in August.

Or why not try my Beer Selector, simply choose the sort of ale you like and let me recommend some beers for you to come down to the festival and try.

Try out the Beer Selector now!

The festival will bring together over 900 real ales, ciders, perries and traditionally brewed foreign beers under one roof. The gargantuan carnival atmosphere will be enhanced by food stands, shop stalls, traditional pub games and musical entertainments on the big stage.

So what are you waiting for? Click below to get your tickets. Remember, CAMRA members pay just £8* when buying tickets in advance.

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2

New Campaign Launch

Today at the Great British Beer Festival, CAMRA National Chairman Colin Valentine is launching a brand new campaign to demand better planning protection for pubs in England.

New CAMRA figures released today show that pub closures have risen to 31 a week, it is time for Government to recognise that Pubs Matter.

Did you know pubs can be converted into other uses including small supermarket stores, estate agents and even pet shops without planning permission?

Did you know two pubs a week are being converted to small supermarket stores?

Did you know pubs can also be demolished without planning permission?

Enough is enough. All we are asking for is a simple change in planning law so a planning application is always required before a pub is demolished or converted into another use.

Please get involved with the campaign today.

How can you get involved?

 

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Pubs Matter: Please Lobby Your MP Today! Our community pubs matter and deserve to be protected. Of course we as CAMRA members recognise this, but the challenge we are facing is ensuring that the Government does too. Weak planning laws mean pubs in England can be demolished or converted to mini supermarket stores, estate agents and pay-day loan stores without a planning application. With two pubs being converted to mini supermarket stores every week, it is time to take a stand.

We need to pile the pressure on Government to make a simple change to planning law so any demolition or change of use of a pub would need a planning application – giving local people the say they deserve in the future of their neighbourhoods. Please lobby your MP now to join our calls for Government to act.

There is also a petition (created by pub campaigner Mark Bradshaw Newton) urging the Government to change planning law. You can sign the petition by clicking here.
This is just the beginning of a powerful new campaign to persuade the Government to act and protect our pubs. Watch this space for more!
Thank you for your support.

Paul Ainsworth

Chair of Key Campaign 2