January 31, 2018

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A bit of news from Brad:

There’s a lot of talk around CAMRA’s Revitalisation Project in the trade press at the moment. As big fans and staunch defenders of cask ale ourselves, you’d think we’d be excited about it too.

Truth be told though, we haven’t been. Even more truth be told, over the last few weeks we’ve been doing some really deep thinking about CAMRA and our involvement with the campaign.

We have had a bar at the Great British Beer Festival for the last two years and were discussing attending for the third year in a row. In the end, we all agreed that if we attended this year, it would be the last time.

The reason, and the reason we haven’t taken much notice of the Revitalisation Project, is that we have felt a bit of a drifting feeling. It goes without saying that many beer drinkers today feel that CAMRA is outdated and increasingly irrelevant and while the Revitalisation Project is designed to reverse that it feels a bit too little, too late. With all the internal politics and the various factions within CAMRA, it would be easy to see this as all talk and no action- just more talks and proposals without anything ever changing. That is felt in the broad beer community in the UK, among our customers and fans, and if we’re being totally honest, here at the brewery too.

If we, winners of CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain title and passionate advocates for great cask ale, can feel alienated and divorced from the national campaign that supposedly shares the same aims, then we can’t hope for a good future for the organisation - in terms of impact, membership numbers, relevance, and ultimately, survival.

Now before you start to think that this is just us turning on CAMRA to get some attention or to make a splash, let us assure you - it’s not. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

We’ve been quiet about some opinions on the industry because we are still very young. We were finding our feet and figuring out who we were, what we stand for and what we want to put our efforts into. But we’re at a stage where we want to come off the sidelines.

We don’t want to stand outside CAMRA and yell at it. We don’t want to flounce out like a stroppy teenager and hope that people get the message we’re no longer there to deliver. We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

CAMRA has undeniably had massive influence in getting British beer to where it is today. It’s not perfect by any means, but it is still the largest single-issue consumer group in the UK, it still has nearly 200,000 people who share at least some ideas and it still has enormous potential. But that potential won’t be released unless we can be openly and constructively critical of the organisation that we are members of.

For all the reasons alluded to above I have decided to run for one of the 12 seats on CAMRA’s National Executive.

Over the next few days, I’ll be putting together a manifesto detailing exactly why and how I want to be actively involved right at the top of CAMRA, and I’ll be sharing those ideas with you. Feel free to provide input or criticism - I’m doing this to encourage more honest discussion about CAMRA, so we encourage the same for our campaign.

Let’s have some fun and Make CAMRA Great Again!

*Full manifesto can now be read here

If you would like to follow Brad's campaign, please go over and like his campaign facebook page.

(for info on the National executive, click here.)

Posted in: Brewery News