CAMRA slams misleading ales

Related tags Old speckled hen Beer

Group claims brewers' marketing gives false impressionThe Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has again attacked Suffolk-brewer Greene King for its...

Group claims brewers' marketing gives false impression

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has again attacked Suffolk-brewer Greene King for its marketing of Ruddles and Old Speckled Hen beer.

CAMRA hit out at the brewer at the launch of the Good Beer Guide 2001, claiming Greene King, and several other brewers, "mislead drinkers".

The group claims several beers in the guide, such as Ruddles, give the impression they come from independent brewers although the original breweries have been closed and production moved elsewhere.Greene King bought the Ruddles and Old Speckled Hen brands, which were in decline, two years ago.

Since then sales of Old Speckled Hen have risen 31 per cent and Ruddles by 50 per cent.

Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide, said: "There is no mention of Greene King on the labels for these brands. They are labelled respectively Ruddles Brewing and Morland Brewing.

"The uninitiated could draw the conclusion the beers are brewed by existing companies bearing these names."

CAMRA's stance on the Greene King brands caused a stir at the Great British Beer Festival earlier this year, when the consumer group banned Ruddles and Old Speckled Hen.

According to Mr Protz, however, the Suffolk-brewer is not the only offender. He pointed out that although Morrells' Oxford brewery closed in 1998, a brochure produced by the company describes its ales as "a real taste of Oxford".

"Morrells' beers are now brewed a fair punt from Oxford," said Mr Protz. "In Dorchester - the capital of Dorset, to be precise."

Ushers, which has also been brewed in Dorchester since 2000, King & Barnes brands which are also now brewed in Dorset and Draught Burton Ale, now brewed in Leeds, were also criticised.

But many beer experts have accused CAMRA of "nit-picking", claiming the group is harming its own efforts to improve the image of cask ale.

Greene King brewing and distribution director John Redman said: "The majority of real ale drinkers support the survival of beers like Ruddles and Old Speckled Hen and are only too pleased to find them increasingly available."

CAMRA, however, disputes this. "If we are to convince both current and future drinkers of cask beers that they should treat them as seriously as French wines, then place of origin is of great importance," Mr Protz said.

CAMRA has also warned that many regional brewers face closure unless the Government intervenes to support them.

Related stories:

CAMRA sticks by cask ale ban (3 August 2001)

Related topics Beer

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