Hardman was appearing to promote the consumer group’s ‘Revitalisation Project’, a wholesale review into the purpose and strategy of CAMRA, which could see it turn its focus on to all beer drinkers, all pub-goers regardless of what they drink, or even all drinkers regardless of where they choose to drink it.
Viewers accused Hardman of ‘putting the Campaign for Real Ale back 20 years’ and doing little to change the stereotypical image of CAMRA members.
However, others sided against Breakfast presenters Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt.
The CAMRA co-founder accused the presenters of ‘inaccuracy’ and stressed the group would continue to campaign for real ale, but was reviewing its operations, purpose and membership.
Hardman argued against Munchetty’s claim that there was no longer a need to campaign for real ale due to the popularity and resurgence of craft beer by saying: “Craft beer doesn’t exist. It’s a definition that doesn’t play a part in quality beer.”
He later added: “It’s just a useful advertising word. Very little of what is described as craft beer is real ale and it’s causing a great deal of confusion in the public. But we don’t want to dwell on craft ale - we can deal with that as we go along. What we’re trying to do is find out exactly what our members want us to do in the future to safeguard real ale and also to safeguard pubs as well, which are the places you need to go to drink real ale. There is such a thing as real ale in a bottle which you can take home, but that’s a very small minority. The majority of real ale is served in pubs from hand pumps on the bar.”
There has been a mixed response to CAMRA's consultation so far, with some beer fans arguing that the group should stick to concentrating solely on real ale and others arguing it should focus more on protecting pubs. Others praised CAMRA for the 'brave' move.
CAMRA members and interested parties can take part in the consultation here.