We talk a lot in these blogs of ours about this and that. Often though we return to old favourite topics like CAMRA and its role. I am often seen defending CAMRA, but I like to think I take a pragmatic view of the issues, though of course, for me at least, supporting quality real ale is a given.
A couple of days ago, I set a scene as to what I think motivates CAMRA in its dealings with Craft Keg and how I think CAMRA sees the subject contextually against its role in promoting and protecting real ale. I mentioned that for us, the battle to ensure real ale survival will never be won as such. We will just have good times and bad times - ups and downs. I also mentioned in the same blog piece, the new wave of keg beers and beer bars and the resurgence of London as a beery city. These are important to bear in mind. There is change in the air and everyone in the UK beer industry needs to have a think about how they perceive that change, how it affects them and what opportunities it might bring.
We have talked here too, and in other blogs, about how all this fits together and tried, often unsuccessfully, to plot a road ahead. CAMRA, as an important component of the British beer scene is looking at it too and I'm part of a small working party reporting to the National Executive on the subject. We are in the process of formulating ideas and I'd like to hear your views against the background I have set out. While we haven't fixed our remit in stone yet, it is along the lines of "How should CAMRA react to the growth of craft beer and specifically to the small but growing craft keg sector?"
So here's your chance to input to my contribution to the internal debate. Constructive comments about where we are, where things might go and how you feel CAMRA should react will be very helpful to me in forming my input to the process. Views of definitions would be useful, (though trying to define "craft" may be a bit tricky.) If you keep your feet on the ground too, that would be helpful. There is no point in unrealistic demands for change. This is an examination of where we are and how the future might be shaped and not primarily a vehicle for change. Please remember too that CAMRA is a member's organisation and that for any policy change to happen, one has to convince the membership. Sorry, but there won't be much by way of feedback, as our NE will be the first to be informed of what we have come up with, but do let me know how you regard the future and CAMRA's role in it, with particular regard to craft keg beer. (Also, please let me know if you are a CAMRA member or not when you comment and if you want to talk non publicly or off the record about it to me, particularly if you are trade, be it brewer or publican, do let me know.)
Bloggers have a genuine chance here to contribute to my input on the working party on a subject that has already caused a lot of debate within this blog. I hope that as many of you as possible take it up.
Remember too, it isn't just me you need to convince, so please think your arguments through.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, CAMRA Chairman and (local) activist, beer author, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
This blog mentions specifics; pubs and beer, good and bad. The opinions will be forthright, but you can always disagree, just don't be offended. Comments from those mentioned are particularly welcome and a right of reply is hereby offered.
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