Wednesday 6 March 2013

Has CAMRA Lost its Way

It broke today on Twitter that Cromarty  had a beer order cancelled from a CAMRA festival beacuse they sell the same beer in Cask in Keg.

Now many of my friends know im  an Ardent CAMRA Supporter.

But i was horrified to think that CAMRA’s policy might be to  not support or buy beer from Brewers that Produce the same beer in cask and keg (using the same name) and while not wanting to call Cromarty  liars i just couldnt believe this was policy so i phoned CAMRA HQ

And  bloody Hell it appears to be true, i was told

Policy is
"4.33 Beer festivals are not to stock or admit for any award, any beer brand which is produced in both cask and keg versions that mislead the drinker into believing that there is little or no difference between the versions."

The wording of the policy is such that beer festival organisers are able to determine whether or not drinkers are likely to be misled. If drinkers are not likely to be misled then the festival organisers may stock a beer that is brewed both in cask and keg versions.

Now maybe this one Beer festival is interpreting the rule very tightly but its ridiculous.

Sad to say but i cant see this causing anything but harm to CAMRA reputation, when even i (probably the most PRO CAMRA person i know find this to be nothing but stupid.

And i dont want to be the person answering people at the festival about why a brewery is missing from festival, there bound to get fed up of being laughed at.

In fact looking at

All three top beers in Scotland last year were produced by Brewers who will be selling there produce in both Cask and Keg, and while i will always prefer to see them in cask rather than keg, thats my personal choice.
I dont think the Battle for Cask beer is won, and i think CAMRA has a cause still to fight for, for moves like this do more to harm there cause and make them look stupid. Sadly despite argueing for the Last 2 years that CAMRA are still relevant, it does in fact look like they have lost their way.

You can Read here more about why one of these 2 breweries has Chosen to go down the Keg and Cask route.


  1. If this is going to be interpreted as HQ policy going forward then I expect to see no Fullers, Green King, Thwaites, Brains - or any other regional brewer - at GBBF. They've all been producing keg versions of their cask ales for donkey's years. I'd say Greene King deliberately causes cask/keg confusion with some of their fonts as well.

    What does CAMRA want to be?

    CAMRB - Campaign for Regional Breweries?
    CAMOAPA - Campaign for Old Aged Persons Alcoholism?
    CAMW - Campaign for Wetherspoons maybe?

    Or just a "beer festival" company hoping that interest in cask-ale-only festivals keeps the money rolling in? Most younger members I know signed up for membership just to avoid beer festival queues...

    One thing HQ might like to realise is that the people hating this kind of CAMRA branch idiocy are the younger generation of beer lovers. No wonder branches have such trouble recruiting under-40s volunteers, not to mention under-30s. Who's going to run CAMRA branches tomorrow when you're all dead?

    Or maybe I think the younger/interesting beer movement is more important to CAMRA than it really is. Who knows. Probably much the same as CAMRA tends to think it is more important than it really is.

    Eh, who gives a stuff. Good beer will continue to exist without the aid or interest of CAMRA. Let 'em fade away.

  2. Its become clearer speaking to more people that this is an Old rule, that 1 festival has decided to apply in a new way. I still think this ONE festival make CAMRA look stupid and out of touch, but it looks like its not going to have a wider impact than this.

  3. I hope so Craig. CAMRA have done an amazing job keeping the flame alive for great well crafted beer in the face of the huge lager/keg producing companies.

    It is now facing a different challenge as times have changed and the same, or new well crafted beers are now being dispensed in kegs. It is not the kegs that are the old enemy and I hope they do not themselves get 'mislead' by this.

    I am not a member but under 30, however I would consider it if there was a bit more acceptance to the new wave. However as I work for a Brewery I don't think i am allowed?

  4. Yeah i think there still a lot to be said for PROMOTING cask but that doesn't need to be by bully boy tactics.

    and no Lewis i dont think you banned from joining by working for a brewery. In fact all brewery staff need to be CAMRA members to work GBBF

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  6. Glance in your nearby paper, you'll frequently observe Cask Ale celebrations either being drone for photography