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Has CAMRA lost its way?

Posted by Simon Clarke on

Hi all, this time I thought I would write a quick blog about the topic of CAMRA, as it has been in the news recently for both good and bad reasons. Before we get started I have nothing bad against CAMARA as I used to be a member and I think they have done a good job with real ale.


CAMRA was set up back in 1971 as during this time brewers were moving away from traditional real ales and more towards mass produced dull beers. Without them setting CAMRA up, we could all be drink boring beer and who knows what might of happened to British breweries.


They currently are campaigning for lowering taxes for beer and pubs, getting the government to help pubs, encouraging people to try real ales and to raise their profile and increase the number of people using pubs. Which are all good things and we should salute them for this.


CAMRA currently has over 177,000 members, which is a lot of public sway and has helps them to achieve their target of campaigning for real ale.
But have CAMRA lost their way? Even CAMRA is unsure asking its members what they should do, should they become a consume organisation for all beer drinkers, or even just purely focus its aim on cask conditioned beer just to name a few.


Then they go and shoot themselves in the foot when BBC breakfast interviewed one of CAMRAs founders Michael Hardman, view the interview here. In this interview he says that craft beer does not exist and does not play anyway in good quality beer and was too busy trying to pick fly’s with how the BBC were trying to interview him rather than promoting all the good work they had done with real ale up to then. There has been a lot criticism of how he handled this on social media from both their own members and non-alike.


This for me is where CAMRA has let its self-down with how narrow minded they have become rather than moving with the times, they are still stuck back in the late seventies. If the beer is a really good and tasty beer surely this is what matters not if it has come out of a hand pump or been stored cask. You can find plenty of dull and tasteless supposed real ales on pumps that are cask stored.


I am truly hopeful that they will move away from this with opening the floor to their members on what they should do, but to be honest I think that they are so focussed on their definition of real ale and what it should be they will never change. Just think what they could do if they started focusing of keeping pubs open or trying to promote beer from small breweries who knows where we could be or what we could be drinking.


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