Opinion

Great for beer, great for pubs – CAMRA is in festival mood

By Tom Stainer

- Last updated on GMT

Pub champion: 'It would be a foolish minister who didn’t consider our recommendations for improving the pubs code to deliver a better deal for tenants across the country', says CAMRA's Tom Stainer
Pub champion: 'It would be a foolish minister who didn’t consider our recommendations for improving the pubs code to deliver a better deal for tenants across the country', says CAMRA's Tom Stainer
The Great British Beer Festival opens its doors this week for a five-day celebration of British beer, cider and perry. Tom Stainer, chief executive, Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) tells us more.

The festival, which brings more than 1,000 different beers under one roof, is the result of the thousands of volunteers dedicated to showcasing the best the industry has to offer to the tens of thousands of expected visitors.

The festival isn’t just for drinkers though. It’s an important event for trade professionals, providing a chance to meet with friends and contacts, and offering a well-deserved reward for hard-working bar staff. Trade day is tomorrow (Tuesday) and you can get in by flashing your business card at the door – be there for 3pm to hear which breweries have won Champion Beer of Britain competition prizes.

Beer festivals are often seen as competition for pubs, but they are a great way to generate interest and publicity for the sector and in our campaigns to support the industry. From campaigning to reduce beer tax, to reforming the business rates system and promoting the important role pubs play in society, the Great British Beer Festival has always been key in driving campaigns forward.

In addition, our beer festivals take place for just a few days out of the year – the lasting impact provides a year-long benefit for the nation’s pubs.

So what campaigns can you look out for at this year’s festival? We will continue to promote our positive Summer of Pub campaign, encouraging pub-going by publicising the huge range of events organised by licensees during summer.

With just a month left of the campaign, pubs can get involved by signing up at camra.org.uk/summerofpub​.

As well as ordering free window stickers and beer mats, you can download free digital marketing material to use on social media feeds and see your pub promoted on our calendar of activity.

Focus on the festival this month hasn’t distracted us from other serious campaigns. When the pubs code adjudicator admitted it was struggling to talk to pub tenants, we organised a survey to find out real-life experiences of what the beer tie is like for licensees. Our findings and our detailed submission to the Government’s review of the pubs code has been sent, and will form part of our ongoing campaigning to help support licensees tied to large pub companies.

We may not beat our chests and shout as loudly as some in the public debate about the pubs code, but the hard, and often unseen, work by our campaigners means we are taken seriously and listened to by decision makers.

It would be a foolish minister who didn’t consider our recommendations for improving the pubs code to deliver a better deal for tenants across the country, in the original spirit of the legislation.

Related topics: Beer

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