CAMRA blasted for ‘insensitive’ virtual GBBF glass design

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Event announcement: the virtual Great British Beer Festival is set to start later this month (Friday 11 September)
Event announcement: the virtual Great British Beer Festival is set to start later this month (Friday 11 September)

Related tags Beer Camra Great british beer festival

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has been lambasted on social media for the design of this year's virtual Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) glass.

The glass has virus-like clipart all over it and was announced on Twitter ahead of the virtual GBBF this month (Friday 11 to Sunday 13 September), which social media users have criticised for being “off the mark and insensitive”.

CAMRA posted a statement on Twitter from GBBF organiser Catherine Tonry defending the design on the glass.

It said: “I sincerely apologise if anyone who has taken offence to this year’s GBBF glass theme. As someone who has suffered lasting lung damage after contracting Covid-19, I am all too aware how serious the illness can be and the devastating and long-term impact it has had on so many of us.

“We choose a theme every year and wanted to ensure the design recognised what was at the front of everyone’s mind.

“Covid-19 has been the defining event of 2020 and has severely impacted the beer and pub sector – as well as many of our personal lives. In fact, this is the first time we have held the festival digitally in more than 40 years of hosting the GBBF."

Thoughtlessness on show

Tonry added: “We hope despite the difficulties faced by many, the festival will give people the chance to come together over a pint and discover new brewers and cider producers to support throughout this period of uncertainty.”

However, beer drinkers were quick to respond with criticisms of the glass as well as CAMRA’s response to those who were upset by it.

Gary Akiens responded: “Oh dear. Will make it look like you have Covid in your beer! Wonder who thought this was a good idea.”

Tim Brogan touched on his own experienced with the coronavirus to air his distaste at the glass design.

He said: “Hmmm, as CAMRA member of 35 years standing, who’s sister died of Covid-19 in April, I am truly appalled by the thoughtlessness on show, regarding whoever thought this design was suitable to use.”

Tommy Bowen added: “CAMRA member here. This is awful. Simply awful. Imagine actually thinking people would enjoy receiving and drinking beer from these.

“So off the mark and insensitive. The official ‘apology’ is a joke as well. Read the room, acknowledge the mistake and make amends now.”

Quintessentially British

However, some users did support the glass design. Danielle Ayling said: “To be honest, I like it. It’s a reminder that 2020 was a once in a generation year and at the end of the day, everyone has faced challenges due to this.

“Frankly, there are more pressing issued in the world than complaining about a glass. Plus, I thought they were snowflakes and kinda [sic] cute at first.”

Stuart Weston also liked the look of the vessel and said: “This glass design is great. Wish I were able to get one for myself to be honest.”

Bex King labelled the glass as “the most quintessential British thing to do” and encouraged others to raise the glass in celebrating what you have and remember what has been lost.

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