CAMRA revitalisation: proposals signal historic change in attitude to keg beer

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

CAMRA: proposals represent historic loosening of hard-line attitude to cask/keg debate
CAMRA: proposals represent historic loosening of hard-line attitude to cask/keg debate

Related tags Beer

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)’s revitalisation steering committee has published extensive proposals for the organisation, including a historic loosening of its stance on keg beers and increasing its advocacy of “real” cider. 

A document detailing the committee’s recommendations for the CAMRA national executive was released this afternoon (14 December) following an extensive consultation period on the organisation’s future.

Under the proposals, while CAMRA would continue to advocate cask-conditioned ale as “the pinnacle of the brewer’s craft”, keg beers and foreign beers would be allowed to be showcased at CAMRA beer festivals.

This comes as part of a wider softening of its stance on keg and other beer dispense methods, most notably its decision to give Moor Beer ‘cask can’ status earlier this year and its decision in 2015 that KeyKeg was compatible with its definition of real ale.

'Merits of different beer'

The proposal document reads: “CAMRA should seek to promote awareness and understanding of the different factors that contribute to beer quality, to help consumers make an informed judgement about the relative merits of different types of beer.”

CAMRA should also campaign for real cider and perry to become more widely available alongside real ale, developing a campaigning strategy to articulate how it is positioned and advocated alongside other CAMRA activity, the committee advised.

Public health 'creep'

The steering committee also recommended CAMRA take a harder stance against the anti-alcohol lobby, seeking out media opportunities to challenge attacks on moderate alcohol consumption and exploring the possibility of creating a wider independent campaign to support moderate drinkers.

CAMRA has previously criticised what it views as the creep of public health agenda into pubs and clubs evident with developments such as Camden’s “damaging” licensing objectives​ and numerous IAS reports.

Other key recommendations include:

  • CAMRA should continue to celebrate well run community pubs and “battle to arrest the decline in their numbers”.
  • CAMRA’s national executive should consider launching a quality mark for real ale to be applied to beer and pubs.

The campaign launched its revitalisation process as a way of bringing the organisation more into line with the modern landscape of the beer world.

A spokesperson previously told The Morning Advertiser (MA)​: “We need to make sure that CAMRA is set up with the world that’s happening out there.

“We can’t stagnate and let the world change around us while hoping for the best, so there is a lot riding on this.”

It recently announced it would delay a final vote on the programme​ until 2018 thanks to the proposals’ “far-reaching” scale.

Read the steering committee’s full recommendations to the CAMRA national executive

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