CAMRA ‘widens scope’ to cover all beers and outlets

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

A new look? CAMRA to ask members if they're happy with proposals
A new look? CAMRA to ask members if they're happy with proposals

Related tags Real ale Public house Camra

Beer and cider campaign group the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) will aim to broaden its reach to cover all “quality” beer and cider types, and will move its focus from traditional pubs to more on-trade outlets.

The announcement follows two years of consultation between CAMRA and its members under the Revitalisation Project to decide which path the organisation should take to secure its future.

In March 2016, CAMRA began to ask its members whether it should remain the champion of cask beer​ or broaden its focus.

In a statement today (22 January), CAMRA set out five key proposed changes it will put forward to members.

These include offering a wider range of beers, ciders and perries in all formats at festivals; to engage with drinkers of all types of beers; and to recognise a wider range of drinks and drinking establishments.

If approved by members, along with continuing to advocate real ale, cider and perry, CAMRA would work to provide “enhanced” education and information experiences for its members and other drinkers who attend CAMRA festivals.

‘Consumption of real ale’

The organisation said: “While campaigning for the continued production and consumption of real ale, cider and perry will remain at the core of CAMRA’s objectives, members will be asked to consider changes to the organisation’s Articles of Associations, which will widen the range of types of beer that it represents – including quality beer that does not meet the organisation’s definition of ‘real ale’.”

Drinker engagement will no longer be focused on pubgoers, said CAMRA, which would look to represent and engage with drinkers in all types of outlets.

“This broadening of consumer representation will also see CAMRA demonstrate an interest in and lobby for a much wider range of on-trade outlets,” it added.

The proposed changes

  • CAMRA festivals offering a wider range of quality beers, ciders and perries in all formats
  • CAMRA engaging with drinkers of all variants – with the hope of taking them on a ‘journey of discovery’ of why real ale, cider and perry is particularly special
  • CAMRA supporting members in their appreciation of beer, their ability to both recognise quality products and campaign effectively for them to be stocked in pubs and bars
  • CAMRA providing information about all kinds of beer, not just real ale, as well as opportunities for members to learn more about brewing and the different types and styles available to drinkers
  • CAMRA recognising a wider range of drinks and establishments in its local and national competitions

“While the organisation will continue to campaign for the preservation of the traditional British pub, it will also encourage on-trade outlets of all kinds to serve quality beer, cider and perry.

“CAMRA will continue to advocate drinking in public social venues, rather than the increasing practice of consumers buying their drinks from supermarkets for home consumption.”

CAMRA’s near 190,000 members have been consulted throughout the review process, the culmination of which had been delayed​ by a year.

It was initially predicted the process would take less than a year to complete, with a provisional deadline set for April 2017.

Prolong the process

However, in October 2016, seven months after setting out on the process, chairman Colin Valentine said the “far reaching” scale of the proposals would prolong the process by another year.

In the first week of the Revitalisation Project, 12,000 responses from members were logged​ by the organisation, which followed up with a series of meetings and discussions with members.

Of the proposals today, Valentine said: “It’s always been important that our members have had a say throughout this review process and we’re now at the point where we’ll be giving all our members the chance to vote on the final Revitalisation Project recommendations.

“The vote will be held at our annual general meeting in Coventry in April. In the months between now and then we’ll be making sure members can access the full details of the changes we’re recommending, along with the analysis of the impacts and potential opportunities the changes will have.”

He continued: “Our recommendations mark and important stage in CAMRA’s long history. We recognise that the beer and pub landscape has changed and continues to evolve, and our place in that landscape has changed as well.

“We’re determined to make sure that we continue to change and evolve so that we are relevant to drinkers of all types and continue to offer a compelling reason for people to join our organisation.”

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