News

2017-09-09
GREENE SLIDE
Shares in Greene King have dropped 11% due to the company reporting falling sales in the last quarter. Sales fell 1.2%. However, all is not gloom for the beer side as the drop in sales came from the food side of the business.

2017-09-07
PRICE
It is cheaper to buy a beer in London now than in Surrey according to the Good Pub Guide.

2017-08-31
GUIDE ME.
The Good Beer Guide 2018

The 45th Good Beer Guide will be published on September 14th.

This is a completely independent selection of pubs, with listings based entirely on nomination and evaluation by CAMRA members. Given that, you can be sure that every one of the 4,500 pubs in The Good Beer Guide deserves its place, and that they all come recommended by people who love nothing more than a great pint and a good place to enjoy it!

In addition, you get the only exhaustive listing in print of UK real ale breweries.

It also includes articles by world-renowned beer writer Roger Protz on a range of topics around beer and pubs, and more.

2017-06-19
SUPPORT YOUR PINT
CAMRA have issued a statement praising their members actions before the elections, who lobbied local candidates about beer issues.

Thanks to members campaigning, 773 candidates across 467 constituencies pledged support for beer and pubs ahead of the election.

Of these candidates, 130 were elected as MPs which equates to 20% of the House of Commons.

CAMRA argued that "it stands us in great stead as we face the challenges ahead - and will help us build crucial cross-party support, especially as the Autumn Budget gets closer."

During this campaign CAMRA members sent over 7,500 emails to candidates and lobbied candidates on the doorstep, asking them to pledge for pubs. They also used social media to keep the conversation going online. More importantly, it was argued, they did not take 'no' for an answer, persuading many candidates to change their minds and sign up to the pledges.

CAMRA has now said they will work with MPs from all parties to ensure beer and pubs stay on top of the political agenda and "that we maintain our strong voice in Parliament."

To keep up to date with all their campaigns and see how you can support them, visit www.camra.org.uk/campaigns.

2017-04-01
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL.
The smallest micropub in the UK fits just 2 customers.

Check out the video here

2017-03-28
BREWED BY THE DOG
BrewDog has been criticised for being hypocritical in a row with a new Birmingham pub that wanted to call itself 'Lone Wolf'.

Joshua and Sallie McFadyen were threatened with legal action a week after opening Lone Wolf because its name was the same as a BrewDog vodka.

They felt they had to change the name of the Birmingham bar as they had no funds to fight them in court. BrewDog later relented, blaming "trigger happy lawyers" for the letter.

However, Joshua and Sallie have said they do not intend to change the name back to the one they intended due to the cost of rebranding once more.

2017-03-25
CLOSING THE LOOP.
Following a successful campaign led by the Campaign for Real Ale, the Government has announced that it will support a measure to close a planning loophole in England which has allowed pubs to be demolished or converted to a wide range of retail uses without any planning application.

This has not only denied local communities a say in their beloved locals' futures, but also made pubs a soft target' for developers, contributing to 21 net pub closures every week.

The Government's decision will bring a halt to developers exploiting loopholes and will give communities the right to have a say in the future of their pubs. The decision will not prevent the development of pubs, but will require developers to apply for planning permission to convert or demolish a pub, allowing for members of the local community to express their opinions as part of that process.

CAMRA campaigners worked closely with the Shadow Spokesman for Communities and Local Government, Lord Roy Kennedy, who won a vote on this issue in the House of Lords last month, and with Ministers, MPs, Peers and departmental officials.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark said: "I am delighted that the Government have listened to the Lords my amendment to close the loophole that allowed pubs to be lost without the local community having a say. This is a victory for common sense, the much loved British pub and responsible drinkers everywhere."

CAMRA Chief Executive Tim Page said: "Politicians are chosen to represent the views of those who elect them. We are delighted that in deciding to require owners to apply for planning permission if they want to close a pub, the Government has put the opinions of those who recognise the value that pubs provide to them and their communities above the commercial interests of a few organisations and individuals. This is a fantastic victory for campaigners who have secured the removal of a loophole which allowed pubs to be redeveloped or demolished without reference to the local community or planners. The decision to respond positively to CAMRA's campaign is further evidence of Government's support for the pub sector and follows on from the decision earlier this month to provide most English pubs with a 1,000 discount in the business rates they pay."

"This announcement is the result of the work of thousands of local campaigners and CAMRA members who have been calling for an end to the loopholes in existing legislation that have been used by developers to close wonderful, viable and well-supported local pubs. This change also wouldn't have been possible without the dedication of Lord Kennedy in securing the support of the House of Lords earlier this month. Lord Kennedy's efforts to support the future of local pubs at the heart and soul of communities will benefit pub goers for generations to come."

"This change delivers real and robust protection to valued community pubs, which previously have relied on communities going through the bureaucratic process of securing Asset of Community Value (ACV) listings, or local authorities choosing to use complex and obscure Article 4 directions.

"We will work with the Government to ensure these measures are implemented as soon as possible to allow pubs across England to start benefiting from the protection of the planning system."

2017-03-14
GUIDE TO ALE


beer


c2017, Myoffers.co.uk

2017-03-12
NATIONAL BEER DAY
National beer day is to be the 15th of June 2017.

This will be the third annual event.

If you are interested in celebrating the day, go to National Beer Day for more information.

2017-03-03
BACK FROM THE DEAD
CAMRA has announced George and Dragon in Hudswell, North Yorkshire as Pub of the Year.

The George and Dragon has been brought back to life by its community - adding a shop and library to keep the customers coming.


2017-02-24
GBBF
The Great British Beer Festival website is now live.

CAMRA are proud to announce that their new and improved website is now live and ready for you to explore. The website is the place for you to find out all the latest information about the festival. Want to know what beers are available, what food to try, where to stay and how to get there? Then you will find it on the website as soon as it is available.

Useful sections will be things like: tickets, tastings, and travel.

Get your ticket now

Member discount code: GBBF-2017-ema

2017-02-04
BLADDERED
Many people may not realise the beer in their pint glass contains a product made from fish. Now the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) is calling on brewers to investigate alternatives for their drinks.

Ask somebody to list the classic ingredients of beer and the chances are they will come back with: hops, malt, barley, water and yeast. It is unlikely the swim bladder of fish would be on the list, but isinglass - a gelatine made using the organ - is in fact very likely to be in your average pint.

Used since the 19th Century as a fining agent to make beer clear, bright and more attractive to drinkers, the odourless added extra is used widely by brewers, from mass-produced brands to small microbreweries. Its prevalence poses a problem for vegetarians and vegans, many of whom do not realise they need to tread carefully when ordering at the bar.

Now Camra is calling on breweries to examine alternatives to isinglass in beer, is a brewing revolution on the cards?

While flocculation - the process where the substance mixes with the yeast in the beer to make it less hazy - is useful for many breweries and landlords looking for beer to settle quickly, Twisted Barrel Brewery made the decision not to use isinglass to clear its beers soon after setting up in 2014.

As well as the ethical and environmental issues around veganism, the Coventry-based brewer has another more practical objection: the effect of isinglass on the taste. "It takes away a lot of the flavour from the beer," Mr Bosworth said.

Alternative vegetarian-friendly finings, such as products derived from the algae Irish moss or seaweed, are also on the market. Unsurprisingly, the practice is enthusiastically backed by the Vegetarian Society.

John Soonaye, from the society, said the exemption alcoholic drinks enjoy on nutritional labelling regulations makes life harder for ale-drinking vegetarians.

However, with greater consumer awareness about the provenance of food and drink and a number of breweries signing up to earn the society's approved trademark, he hopes the situation will improve.

"The use of isinglass in drinks production is a major frustration for vegetarian beer lovers as there are very few obvious ways to identify whether or not it has been used," he said.

"Personally, there's nothing I like more than savouring a cool pint of real ale on a lazy Saturday afternoon, so if Camra can help encourage breweries to make more beers suitable for more people, that's a brilliant thing."

2016-09-28
IT'S IN THE CAN
Bristol brewery becomes first in world to be granted "CAMRA Says This Is Real Ale" accreditation for canned beer

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has given its first ever accreditation for real ale to a canned beer - from Moor Beer Company in Bristol.

The campaigning organisation carried out tests on the "micro-canned" beer from Moor Beer at its recent Great British Beer Festival and concluded that the beer qualified as real ale under its definition.

CAMRA's quality control laboratory at the Great British Beer Festival reported that the beer in Moor Beer cans still contained live yeast, and further test results showed that any carbonation was created by natural secondary fermentation.

It makes Moor Beer the first brewery in the world to be granted the "CAMRA says this is real ale" logo to use on a canned beer.

National chairman of CAMRA,Colin Valentine, said: "There have been a lot of developments in the brewing industry and CAMRA has been working hard to make sure that we understand them and how they fit with our real ale definition.

"I'm delighted that we've been able to show that "micro-canned" beer under the right circumstances can qualify as real ale, which means that more drinkers can get access to what we believe is the pinnacle of brewing skill - live beer which continues to ferment and develop in whichever container it's served from.

"We carried out similar tests on key-cask beers several years ago and accepted those as real ale and we're hopeful brewers will continue to innovate and find ways of making real ale as accessible to drinkers as possible through these sorts of developments.

"We look forward to granting the accreditation to many more breweries producing canned beers in similar ways to Justin at Moor."

Justin Hawke from Moor Beer said: "I moved to England because of my love for real ale, so when I made the decision to can our beer there was only one way we were going to do it - fully can-conditioned with live yeast.

"We invested very heavily in our canning line and process control to get it right, taking a huge risk being the first to go down this path. Cans had a horrible reputation, but actually it is the best package type for portability because it blocks all light and oxygen from getting in and ruining the beer.

"It is also a much more environmentally friendly container, being lighter in weight, more recyclable, and safer than glass. We worked really hard with our designer Ben King from Ich Bin Ben to make the outside of the can as awesome as the beer inside. The beer itself is amazing, and getting CAMRA's recognition give us a huge sense of achievement.

2016-09-12
MARXIST BEER
A story has emerged of North Korea selling beer and fun times to its people. In this the UK has a part to play as the kit they use to brew their beer came from the defunct Ushers Brewery in Trowbridge.

However, it seems that not all beer is equal. The North Koreans have used the kit to brew mainly lager.

Reports are that the beer brewed - Taedonggang - is a gaseous and bland affair, more akin to Budweiser than it is to anything British. Given that America are the hated enemy of North Koreans, it is surprising they chose to copy such a beer style.

2016-08-10
CHAMPION BEER OF BRITAIN 2016
CAMRA are proud to announce this year's Champion Beers of Britain. They would especially like to thank all the members who were part of the 12 month judging process at all levels, without them the awards would not be possible.

Overall

Gold - Binghams, Vanilla Stout
Silver - Old Dairy, Snow Top; Champion Winter Beer of Britain, Old Ale Strong Milds category
Bronze - Tring, Death or Glory; Champion Winter Beer of Britain, Barley Wine Strong Old Ales category


Mild

Gold - Williams Bros, Williams Black
Silver - Mighty Oak, Oscar Wilde
Bronze -Acorn, Darkness

Bitter

Gold - Timothy Taylor, Boltmaker
Silver - Tiny Rebel, Hank
Joint Bronze - Hawkshead, Bitter, Salopian, Shropshire Gold

Best Bitter

Gold - Surrey Hills, Shere Drop
Silver - Salopian, Darwins Origin
Joint Bronze - Colchester, Colchester No.1, Tiny Rebel, Cwtch

Strong Bitter

Gold - Heavy Industry, 77
Silver - Hawkshead, NZPA
Bronze - Adnams, Ghost Ship

Golden

Gold - Golden Triangle, Mosaic City
Silver - Grey Trees Independent Craft Brewery, Diggers Gold
Bronze - Marble, Lagonda IPA

Speciality

Gold - Binghams, Vanilla Stout
Silver - Titanic, Plum Porter
Bronze -Saltaire, Triple Chocoholic

2016-05-12
SHEFFIELD, CENTER OF THE ALE UNIVERSE?
According to a new report, Sheffield is the "real ale capital of the world". The report by Sheffield University titled "The Worlds Best Beer City : A Snapshot of the Beer Industry in the Sheffield City Region ", found Sheffield has 23 breweries.

When expanded to what they called the Sheffield region, "This list yielded a total of 57 active brewers in the Sheffield City
Region." they stated.

Kate Major, chairman of the city's branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and landlady of The Three Tuns, said a glut of very knowledgeable beer drinkers helped explain why Sheffield had so many breweries. "The report is very exciting but it is nothing we didn't know already in Sheffield," she said. "Many of our breweries are tiny and we like the beer they produce too much to let a lot of it out."

The University of Sheffield report finds nine out of 10 of the city's brewers could be described as "microbreweries" - those that brew less beer than the threshold for beer duty and keep the vast majority of their production in the city.

It also claimed what makes the city's beer scene special is it produces 400 different beers, many of which are hard to find anywhere else.

The city's brewing history goes back as far as 1758 when its first brewery was founded. Over the next 100 years 30 brewers sprung up, making the steel city something of a brewing centre. But by World War One there were only around 16 breweries left and the number continued to decline for decades after. Then, in the 1980s, something stirred: a brewing movement which made Sheffield a precursor to the more recent national explosion in "craft beer".

This is argued to have started with Dave Wickett, a polytechnic lecturer and real ale enthusiast. He purchased a run-down pub and set up The Fat Cat in 1981. This pub has always tried to stock ten real ales. "The general trend for Sheffield's new beer all started with the Fat Cat and the Kelham Island area" Kate Major added.

While other cities may be better know for drinking by the wider population, CAMRA members have always know about the variety and quality of ales available in Sheffield. Kate Major proffers an invitation to all by sating "We have room in Sheffield for a lot more people to come and drink our beer and as a city we need to be telling everybody".

2016-04-23
SAVING PUBLIC HOUSES.
Saving pubs has become popular these days, but pubs are still closing.

The re-found love of beer though has not stopped a wave of pub closures across the UK. Between 2009 and 2013, 3,800 coffee shops opened. During that same period 4,500 pubs called last orders for the last time. In the second half of last year, the number of pubs fell to its lowest level for a decade, with an average of 27 each week pulling their final pint.

A number of factors have conspired against public houses. Tax on beer is higher than most of the rest of Europe, which adds an extra 52p to the price of every pint served. Alcohol is also much cheaper in supermarkets.

Many of the pubs under threat represent, the campaigners say, beautiful slices of history. The Royal Oak pub in Kent, which contains a beam thought to be nearly 350 years old, closed last September. Campaigners are angry it has been sold to a developer, and could potentially be demolished, rather than to the former landlord.

"Many pubs have yet to properly adapt to life after the smoking ban and offer a pleasant environment to relax in with good food - especially those that are struggling with beer ties," says Allison Parkinson from Save the Royal Oak, Frindsbury.

The campaigners say beer ties have had a detrimental effect. They allow owners to rent the pub premises from the company or brewery that owns it, often for lower than market rates. However, it locks the tenants into buying beer and other drinks from the parent company. At the end of 2014, MPs voted to end this control which allows landlords an independent rent review and to buy their beer on the open market.

Prince Charles is one of the most well-known proponents of traditional village pubs. He has said their disappearance risks "pulling threads" from the '"delicate tapestry'' of the British countryside.

Others remain at risk. The Shakespeare in London's Victoria could make way for Crossrail 2, a new rail route which could link north London with Surrey. The Crook Inn on the Scottish Borders closed in 2006 and was expected to be converted into houses before being saved by a community group. The Cow and Snuffers in Cardiff, Wales closed in 2010 after nearly 200 years.

The seemingly unstoppable march to demolish or convert pubs into flats shows no signs of abating, according to James Hughes, a conservation adviser at the Victorian Society.

"Often pubs are the most architecturally interesting buildings in a local area and provide a cultural hub for a community. Victorian pubs which survive in anywhere near an original state are becoming ever rarer. Pub companies and landlords should see their historic features as an asset not a burden."

The government has tried to address the issue. Community rights legislation gives the public the right to list sites as "community assets". This triggers a block on a sale for six months. Of the 3,000 sites which have been temporarily protected, pubs make up the largest group with around 1,250 listed as such.

The Crocker's Folly in north-west London, which was built just before the end of the 19th Century, is one of those which have been saved. The former Victorian gin palace was "sympathetically and painstakingly restored" after being given grade II-listed status following its closure in 2004 (pictured).

It re-opened in 2014 and now attracts drinkers and diners alike in surroundings it describes as "complete with 50 kinds of marble, Romanesque columns, cut glass chandeliers and carved mahogany".

While this is an unlikely future for every former pub, there is hope that the wider decline can be halted before these mainstays of British life are gone forever.

2016-03-28
FALLEN CROWN
Campaigners have vowed to keep the beer on tap at their pub after plans were revealed to demolish it.

Regulars and villagers near the Crown at Worthington, in Wigan, have rallied round to save their historic pub.

Campaign organiser Carl Davies said campaigners want to see the pub local as an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

Davies said: This pub is the heart and soul of the community here. We were devastated when it closed down so suddenly. But we believed because it was so popular that someone would come in quickly and take it over.

We were appalled to see this plan to rip down a historic building such as this. It has been part of the fabric of our village for hundreds of years.

This was the last community building in this area - we lost our little shops a long time ago. It The Crown is knocked down it will leave us with nothing.

A lot of people are behind us wanting The Crown to survive and well fight to keep it.

2016-03-20
LOST OPPORTUNITY
The Chancellor's decision not to cut beer tax is a missed opportunity, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). CAMRA, however, welcomed reductions in stamp duty and business rates* will help to keep small community pubs open.

By failing to cut beer tax for a fourth year in a row, the Chancellor has missed an opportunity to support the ongoing revival of brewing in the UK.

CAMRA had been pushing for a cut in beer tax which would have prompted additional investment in the industry, protected jobs and importantly, supported stable prices for customers.

CAMRA Chief Executive, Tim Page, said: "A freeze in beer tax is an opportunity missed to back the continued revival of brewing in the UK. With UK drinkers paying the second highest rate of beer duty in Europe, a beer tax cut was needed to keep pubs open, boost the brewing sector and to keep the cost of a pint stable.

"However, the sustainability of smaller community pubs has been boosted by welcome decisions to cut commercial stamp duty and the business rates paid by small businesses. The extension of small business rate relief will save publicans of smaller pubs thousands of pounds

annually which will help keep community pubs as viable businesses and at the heart of community life. Likewise, cuts in commercial stamp duty will reduce the financial barriers faced by people looking to purchase small community pubs to keep them open and serving the needs of local people."

*The reductions in stamp duty will only apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The business rates change only applies to England.

2016-03-18
HEAD FOR TAX
The Chancellor has delivered his 2016 Budget. CAMRA were disappointed that there will not be a fourth consecutive cut in beer duty, but a freeze on beer and cider duty.

This freeze can be seen as a positive move as it is effectively a cut, because beer duty has not increased in line with inflation. It also means that the duty charged on a pint of beer is now around 10p below what it would have been under previous plans to increase duty above inflation each year.

The failure to cut beer duty is a missed opportunity to support the ongoing revival of brewing in the UK; and a further cut would have prompted additional investment in the industry, protected jobs and more importantly, supported stable prices for customers.

Business Rate Relief extended to protect small pubs

The good news is the extension of small business rate relief, which will save publicans of smaller pubs thousands of pounds annually; and will assist in keeping community pubs viable as small businesses at the very heart of each community and serving the needs of local people. Around one in three pubs in England will benefit from this change.

CAMRA have had a tremendous amount of support in this years Campaign to cut beer duty from MPs, Lords, colleagues in the industry, but more importantly from their members. Memeber support was reported as being 'fantastic' with 6,924 members writting to their MPs to lobby them to support this initiative.

Lets not forget that beer remains the most important element of drink sales in pubs across the country and lets raise a glass (or two) for our national drink!

2015-12-30
CRAFTY BREWS
A news article about the craft beer revolution will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4's In Business programme on New Year's Eve at 2030 GMT, and will be repeated on Sunday 3 January at 2130 GMT. It will also be available via the In Business podcast page - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02nrwfk/episodes/downloads

2015-12-28
CLUB OF THE YEAR
Four clubs catering to members with interests as far ranging as motoring, the RAF and politics - but sharing a love of real ale - have been named the finalists in the Campaign for Real Ale's Club of theYear competition.

The Albatross RAFA Club in Bexhill-on-Sea, the Cheltenham Motor Club, the Kinver Constitutional Club and the Orpington Liberal Club have all been put through to the final round of the competition.

Club Mirror magazine and CAMRA joined forces three years ago in the quest to find the best clubs serving real ale those which offer a fantastic atmosphere, welcoming surroundings and most importantly, top quality real ale served in great condition.

The four clubs that have made it into the final four are award-winning CAMRA clubs from the across the country and between them have won almost thirty accolades.

John Holland, Chairman of CAMRA's Clubs Advisory Group and one of the judges to determine the finalists commented: "CAMRA's Club of the Year Competition continues to go from strength to strength as more and more clubs show great commitment to quality real ale.

"This has made it increasingly difficult to become a CAMRA Regional Club of the Year and then get through to the final. Therefore I anticipate an extremely close fight to become CAMRA's Club of the Year 2016".

Clubs are nominated by CAMRA branches across the country and judged by a panel of volunteer CAMRA members throughout the year.

The four finalists will now have to wait until Spring next year to discover which will be named CAMRA's Club of the Year.

CLUB OF THE YEAR FINALISTS

Albatross RAFA Club, Bexhill-on-Sea

This friendly club welcomes CAMRA members; it has been the local Club of the Year since 2012 and regional Club of the Year in 2013.

It hosts popular beer festivals in April and September in its large function room and has a full diary of regular social events including jazz, folk and quiz nights. They stock beers from local brewers such as Rother Valley, Weltons and Dark Star.

The comprehensive range of upcoming beers is listed on a blackboard behind the bar. The club boasts an interesting collection of RAF memorabilia.


Cheltenham Motor Club

This friendly and welcoming club, formed in 1906, is open to all including CAMRA members that have their membership cards with them.

The usually has five ales on tap and Thatcher's Heritage cider. The club is divided into a bar/TV room and a games room separated by a folding partition.

The bar is decorated with motoring paraphernalia and an extensive collection of pump clips.


Kinver Constitutional Club

Built in 1902 on the site of an old pub, this converted hotel has three main areas: a smart restaurant, a large snooker room and a bar always dispensing 8-10 real ales and as many as 18 for special events, at reasonable prices.

The club enjoys an enviable sporting reputation and hosts regular quiz and music nights. Card-carrying CAMRA members welcome but must be signed in, groups should book ahead.

Kinver has won the local branch COTY every year since 2007 and National Club of the Year in 2011.


Orpington Liberal Club

This superb club is a runner-up in the 2014 CAMRA National Club of the year competition. It is also the Greater London Club of the Year for 2013, and has been the Club of the Year for the local CAMRA branch (Bromley) for the last three years.

The refurbished club is free of tie and is run by a real ale enthusiast who doesn't serve regular beers, but purely guests with particular focus on local beers and micro breweries. Nearly 200 different real ales were served in 2013 and prices are extremely competitive.

The club has regular live music, runs occasional beer festivals, and has a large rear garden.

2015-11-15
MICRO BUT NOT SMALL
Micropubs leading the way for better beer as new research shows 70% of pubs now serve real ale.

New research released to mark the launch of the Good Beer Guide 2016, shows 70%* of all pubs now serve real ale, compared to just a third when the book was first published in 1975.

Rather than just traditional pubs going back to their roots though, it seems a different type of drinking establishment is gaining momentum and getting real ale into thirsty drinkers' hands: The micropub.

The growth of micropubs - from zero ten years ago to a predicted 200 by the end of the year - has helped to get real ale into spaces a traditional pub couldn't fit, filling the gaps on our high streets and improving choice for beer drinkers.

Roger Protz, Editor of the Good Beer Guide 2016 says: "Micropubs prove the old saying that small is beautiful'. Many of them are based in disused buildings, they have low overheads and can offer beer at sharper prices than many traditional pubs. They have carved out a new relationship between drinkers, publicans and brewers."

The first micropub, the Butcher's Arms in Herne, Kent, is based, as the name suggests, in an old butcher's shop. It was launched 10 years ago by Martyn Hillier, who was named CAMRA's Campaigner of the Year for 2015 for his inspirational work in launching the Micropub Association and encouraging beer lovers to open small pubs in empty premises.

Hillier says there are well over 150 micropubs in the UK - all of which serve real and that he expects this to grow to over 200 by the end of 2015.

"Micropubs go back full-circle to how pubs used to be, when people actually talked to one another. If you get fifteen people together in a nice environment then conversations are going to spark." But Martyn is keen to stress that beer is equally important too "The quality of beer is parallel to the conversation and is the reason people visit in the first place real ale is central to everything for us."

The pub's beer casks are mounted in the old butcher's freezer room, where there's room for just eight casks. Overhead's are minimal and the biggest start-up investment was installing air conditioning to keep the beer fresh and cool, taking the total spend on the pub to just 5,000.

The single room pub has space for 10 people sitting and 20 standing. "The record number of customers has been 37 and that was like being on a London Tube train!" Martyn says.

The success of the Butcher's Arms quickly spawned more micro-pubs in Kent. Herne Bay now has two while Margate has three and Dover four. A former funeral parlour in St Peter's near Broadstairs lives up to its roots by specialising in holding wakes.

Prices are also kept keen by the low overheads and customers are involved in choosing what appears on the bar by requesting beers for the pub to order, with a focus on locally sourced micro-brewery beers.

Editor Roger Protz adds: "Micropubs are appearing like mushrooms at dawn and are offering beer lovers choice, keen prices and convivial meeting places. They now exist as far north as Northumbria, across into Lancashire, in Wales and the West Country. There are two in that bastion of beer-making, Burton-on-Trent, which is not short of traditional pubs as well."

The Butcher's Arms and over 4,500 other independently selected pubs feature in this year's Good Beer Guide.

2015-10-19
THE SMALL HOUSE
New research released to mark the launch of the Good Beer Guide 2016, shows 70%* of all pubs now serve real ale, compared to just a third when the book was first published in 1975.

Rather than just traditional pubs going back to their roots though, it seems a different type of drinking establishment is gaining momentum and getting real ale into thirsty drinkers' hands: The micropub.

The growth of micropubs - from zero ten years ago to a predicted 200 by the end of the year - has helped to get real ale into spaces a traditional pub couldn't fit, filling the gaps on our high streets and improving choice for beer drinkers.

Roger Protz, Editor of the Good Beer Guide 2016 says: "Micropubs prove the old saying that small is beautiful'. Many of them are based in disused buildings, they have low overheads and can offer beer at sharper prices than many traditional pubs. They have carved out a new relationship between drinkers, publicans and brewers."

The first micropub, the Butcher's Arms in Herne, Kent, is based, as the name suggests, in an old butcher's shop. It was launched 10 years ago by Martyn Hillier, who was named CAMRA's Campaigner of the Year for 2015 for his inspirational work in launching the Micropub Association and encouraging beer lovers to open small pubs in empty premises.

Hillier says there are well over 150 micropubs in the UK - all of which serve real and that he expects this to grow to over 200 by the end of 2015.

"Micropubs go back full-circle to how pubs used to be, when people actually talked to one another. If you get fifteen people together in a nice environment then conversations are going to spark." But Martyn is keen to stress that beer is equally important too "The quality of beer is parallel to the conversation and is the reason people visit in the first place real ale is central to everything for us."

The pub's beer casks are mounted in the old butcher's freezer room, where there's room for just eight casks. Overhead's are minimal and the biggest start-up investment was installing air conditioning to keep the beer fresh and cool, taking the total spend on the pub to just 5,000.

The single room pub has space for 10 people sitting and 20 standing. "The record number of customers has been 37 and that was like being on a London Tube train!" Martyn says.

The success of the Butcher's Arms quickly spawned more micro-pubs in Kent. Herne Bay now has two while Margate has three and Dover four. A former funeral parlour in St Peter's near Broadstairs lives up to its roots by specialising in holding wakes.

Prices are also kept keen by the low overheads and customers are involved in choosing what appears on the bar by requesting beers for the pub to order, with a focus on locally sourced micro-brewery beers.

Editor Roger Protz adds: "Micropubs are appearing like mushrooms at dawn and are offering beer lovers choice, keen prices and convivial meeting places. They now exist as far north as Northumbria, across into Lancashire, in Wales and the West Country. There are two in that bastion of beer-making, Burton-on-Trent, which is not short of traditional pubs as well."

2015-09-01
DEAD END TUNNEL
Tunnel Brewery have sold their plant and at present are brewing at Elliswood.

2015-06-18
NIMBY
Sharp's has admitted Doom Bar in bottles is no longer brewed in Cornwall and has not been for two years.

Critics have argued that this makes it a Burton style brew, after the place where it is now brewed for bottling.

Some, who have longer memories will remember the argument put forward by real ale drinkers at the time of the takeover. Then they argued that the brewer Molson Coors would do what any large brewer would seek to do, create economies of scale by moving brewing away from Sharp's roots.

While this has not, for most part, been carried out - 80% of Sharp's output for Doom Bar is still produced in Cornwall - for some it is the thin edge of the wedge, creating a possibility that more of the production will be moved when people who try the bottled version do not get the same taste from the draught.

2015-05-15
MILLER TIME
The craft brewer Meantime, based in South London has been acquired by the giant SABMiller corporation, renown for brews such as Miller Lite and Peroni.

Meantime gives SABMiller a new string to its bow and a foot in the door of the new revolution in brewing, Craft. Given this is a fast growing segment of the British beer market, it is no wonder the larger corporations want to get in on the action.

Part of the appeal of the purchase is to allow SABMiller to target female drinkers who appreciate a different sort of beer.

The focus going forward for SABMiller will be to put Meantime beers in all national outlets.

Meantime is a good example of hoe the British beer market has become electrified by real ale and craft beers. Sales grew at Meantime by 58% in 2014.

There was no news at this time on how the beers will be dispensed, via gravity or gas tap, but SABMiller's existing UK beer brands are gas pumped.

The acquisition of Meantime is expected to be completed in June 2015.

2014-10-31
SOUR PUSS
Gone are the days when British beer drinkers were stuck with the choice of bitter or lager when ordering at the bar, as thanks to a revolution in British brewing over the last decade there are now more different styles of beer being brewed than ever before.

In London you can drink refreshingly tart Berliner Weisse such as The Kernel's London Sour', in Scotland you'll find strong imperial stouts aged in whisky barrels such as Harviestoun's Ola Dubh', and in Yorkshire you can enjoy a pint of super-hopped, citrussy red ale such as Rapture' by the trail-blazing Magic Rock Brewery. The choice and variety of British beers has never been bettered, with all corners of the UK feeling the effects of Britain's Beer Revolution.

To celebrate Britain's thriving beer culture CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, are publishing Britain's Beer Revolution, a contemporary look at the most influential breweries, places and people in the nation's flourishing beer scene as well as what makes them so special.

"The word revolution is not mere hyperbole. The change is dramatic. Brewers used to be content with producing Mild and Bitter, now drinkers can choose from a vast range of styles that includes the new and highly popular Golden Ales, beers aged in whisky, Bourbon and Cognac barrels and stunning recreations of India Pale Ale, Porter and Stout. There are also beers made with such exotic and unusual ingredients as chocolate, coffee, herbs and spices -- and more and more beers are being made by women brewers as the ancient craft of 'brewster' is restored." Roger Protz, Co-Author of Britain's Beer revolution.

Co-authored by award-winning beer writers Roger Protz and Adrian Tierney-Jones, the book includes focusses on brewers - both new and well-established names - beer destinations and beer trends. This really is the most up-to-date snapshot of British brewing available to buy today.

"The great thing about beer in Britain at the moment is the variety, in no small part driven by the growth of real ale breweries. Everywhere you can find local brewers of all shapes and sizes trying new revolutionary things, whether its new recipes, new production methods, new distribution outlets or new ways of marketing and branding their beers. It shows real dedication to the brewers' art in the 21st century." Adrian Tierney-Jones added.

2014-10-04
HOP TO IT.
over the past four years, British hop farming has revived, helped by a surge in demand from an unexpected quarter. Farmers found that whereas in 2009 they sold only 365 tonnes of hops, in 2013 they sold 600 tonnes. Surprisingly, half of the entire crop is now being bought in the US, by small, independent brewers who make so-called craft ales.

The question is whether British hop farmers will be able to rely on the American market indefinitely. Will craft ale brewing continue to thrive in the US? And will the brewers continue to produce beers which require mellow British hops?

"Craft beer is still growing like a steam train in the States," says Trevor Stirling, brewing industry analyst with Bernstein Research. "Sales were up 18% last year, when total beer sales were down 1%. There are already 2,500 craft ale breweries in America, but I think one can safely say that there are at least five years of good growth left, maybe 10. Craft ales are inherently more hop-heavy than regular lager. But there's a definite move in the States to dial down the strength of their beers, which boosts demand for the milder British hops. My only thought is: what if the Americans start growing British hop varieties themselves, and manage to replicate their flavour? That's an open question."

Whether or not British hops are assured of a market in the US in the long term, the recent surge in sales there is encouraging British hop growers to try to tap markets in other parts of the world.

2014-09-19
RAIL ALE
Virgin trains is now serving a real ale brewed by Redwillow Brewery. The beer is called Tilting Ale. Get it onboard instead of having to have lager.

There is no information on pricing, but expect it to be similar to the other alcoholic beverage offerings.

You can hear more about it via the official YouTube launch - YouTube

2014-09-05
BRITAINS BEST BEER 2014
Online search to find Britains Best Beer 2014

Today sees the launch of the most comprehensive search for the best British beer of 2014. Now in its fifth great year, the competition is unique in that 100% of beers brewed in the UK are automatically entered. All styles are eligible; the only condition is that the beer must be genuinely brewed in the UK.

Other beer competitions in the UK require entry by the brewers. Not all beers are entered for even the most prestigious competitions. So how can they be objective? They cant.

aletalk.co.uks registered users can vote on their favourite beers in two categories: draught (cask or keg) and packaged (bottled or canned). Voters can list up to three beers in each of the two categories. The winners will be crowned aletalk's Best British Beer 2014 (draught) & aletalk's Best British Beer 2014 (packaged)

aletalk.co.uk is one of the UKs foremost real ale websites with a searchable database of the UKs breweries and their beers. Also included are related news items and a comprehensive calendar of beer festivals and real ale events.

It is free to register with aletalk.co.uk and registered users who vote in the competition will be entered into the sites monthly draw to win a case of beer which this year has again been kindly sponsored by on-line beer retailer AlesbyMail.com.

AlesbyMail Marketing Director, John Pagan, commented: Were delighted to be supporting aletalk.co.uks Britains Best Beer competition. One of the great things about this competition is that it doesnt rely on brewers entering their beers, so those voting really are choosing from every beer available. Its also a competition that engages both the trade and the public, which reflects our audience too.

The competition runs until the end of November 2014, with the winners announced in early December 2014.

2014-08-14
BOLT FROM THE BROWN
The Great British Beer Festival, held in London, every august, has named Timothy Taylor's Boltmaker the best beer in Britain.

The brewer from West Yorkshire has won for one of its lesser known beers. Most real ale drinkers are familiar with Landlord, but Boltmaker will now become sought after and the brewer will be seeking to ramp up production.

2014-05-23
BIG NEWS
Britain biggest brewers have unveiled a new generic advertising and marketing campaign. The move, which is backed by CAMRA, follows on from last years Let there be beer initiative.

The campaign is being bankrolled by AB InBev, SAB Miller, Heineken, Molson Coors and Carlsberg and the organisers say it will not solely focus on mainstream lagers.

The new campaign centres on telling drinkers Theres More to Beer, with provenance, the craft of brewing, the diversity of beer styles, food pairings and taste all being given roles.

CAMRA head of marketing Tony Jerome said: "This is an exciting time for the Let There Be Beer campaign. CAMRA was delighted to have been asked for our input into the new creative and we look forward to seeing the next phase of this a generic beer promotion that celebrates everything great about beer."

2014-05-04
WELLINGTON PUB
The brewing side of the Ironbridge Brewery is moving to a new pub in Wellington. The Pheasant in Market Street (TF1 1DT) will now house the brewery. The brewery will now be able to offer pub lunches and brewery tours.

2014-04-03
ALCOHOL DUTY
If you ever wondered how the duty in the latest budget might affect the amount of real ale you could sup, then wonder no further. THis site gives you a handy guide to find out just how much you will save over a year now the chancellor has reduced duty.

What you save in duty

2014-02-03
NO LATE LICENCE
To help speed on England's win this summer in the World Cup, The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) had asked for serving times to be extended on two weekends during the tournament. However, the Home Office has rejected this as the World Cup is not a one-off event.

Those licencees who hold a true 24-hour licence can stay open as long as they like. However, when licencing laws were changed in 2005, most licencees only sought to extend their opening times for a few hours. This means that when England play games at 11pm during the competition, most pubs will be shutting.

If these pubs wish to say open they must apply for a Temporary Event Notice extension.

There are implications for behaviour now that it seems likely people will be funnelled into fewer venues. However, local authorities may wish to readdress this situation nearer the time.

2014-01-27
WATCHING THE PUB.
A petition launched ahead of the debate on Pub Company reform by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is on track to reach 30,000* signatures, showing overwhelming public support for action by the Government.

The online petition, which was launched just 10 days ago and received 15,000 signatures in its first 24 hours, is set to build pressure on the Government in advance of a crucial Parliamentary Debate taking place today (21st Jan) calling for a Pubs Watchdog.

The Government promised to introduce a Pubs Watchdog and Statutory Code a year ago but have missed two key deadlines to progress these plans. Now, with 26 pubs being lost in the UK every week, a Pubs Watchdog is urgently required to prevent big pub companies putting many individual publicans pubs under pressure and risk of closure due to unfair practices.

Mike Benner, CAMRAs Chief Executive said This petition is a clear indication of the overwhelming public support for vital pubco reform and the introduction of an independent Pubs Watchdog, which is urgently needed to govern the behaviour of large pub companies and ensure publicans are treated fairly. The large pub companies own around a third of the UKs pubs and it is essential the Government takes swift action to fix what is clearly a broken system. CAMRA would hope that todays debate will spur the Government into action that is now much overdue.

Supporters can sign the petition by visiting: www.pubscandal.org.uk

2014-01-25
WOMEN AND BEER
The number of professional women brewers is on the rise in the UK and they are becoming increasingly influential, according to leading industry figures.

In the past men dominated brewing, but prior to the industrial revolution it was part of a woman's household duties and had been women's work for thousands of years. Fast forward to today and female brewsters are on the rise again, being credited with helping reinvigorate the beer industry.

Women are appearing at all levels of the brewing industry. Emma Gilleland, head of supply chain at Marston's is argued to be very influential. Marston's has five breweries and produces over 60 beers.

Women brewers opening their own businesses are also helping to drive a boom in the number of breweries in the UK, says Roger Protz, editor of the 2014 Good Beer Guide. "More and more women are setting up their own breweries and becoming head brewers at well-established ones," he says. "Their influence is really growing in the industry, just look at Emma Gilleland. It's exciting to see."

This all means the circle of brewing is turning back towards women being a dominant force. Jane Peyton argues women first brewed 4,000 years ago and were the primary brewers from the start. "Beer was food and food preparation was the domain of females. Ale was traditionally made in the home and brewed for the family. It was part of the daily diet for everyone - children included. It provided nutrition and was a safe source of drinking water. Anything left over was usually sold, often providing a valuable income for households."

Of course, once mass society arose after the industrial revolution when cities began to increase in size and beer consumption needs, beer production moved out of the home and into the 'modern' breweries. Working outside the home was a largely a male thing, so women were cut out of beer production.

Women have returned to brewing as part of the contemporary flourish to bake, cook and make things that has seen women reinvigorate their culinary skills. It has also allowed these skills to be seen less as a domestic chore and more as artisan skill. This has opened up brewing as a career choice to a whole new generation of young women. At the same time society, attitudes and gender stereotypes continue to change.

2014-01-04
WHERE'S MY BEER?
Beer made by Aberdeenshire brewer BrewDog, were stolen from the Ales by Mail wharehouse in Radford Way, Billericay.

Up to 16,000 bottles of "special" beer worth nearly 50,000 was taken.

Only BrewDog varieties were taken including Interstellar, Hobo Pop, Moshi Moshi 15 and Brixton Porter which are only available online or from specialist wholesalers. All were easily identifiable through their packaging and labelling.

If anyone has any information they should get in touch with Insp Mark Rayner, of Essex Police.

The managing director of Ales by Mail, Paul Kruzycki, has offered a cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the thieves.

CCTV shows up to 10 men loading the bottles on to a lorry which was driven off towards Billericay High Street.

2013-12-30
PUBCO.
CAMRA has expressed serious concern at delay to proposals for a Statutory Code and Adjudicator to regulate the big pub companies. The Business Minister, Jo Swinson MP has today published consultation responses but has failed to announce what steps Government will take. This is despite a clear commitment that a decision would be made by the end of the year.

Evidence presented by CAMRA indicates that 57% of licensees tied to the large pub companies earn less than 10,000 a year and that a lack of pub company support for pubs is a major contributor to the closure of 26 pubs every week. Mike Benner, CAMRAs Chief Executive said:

The Governments indecisiveness on this issue puts the future of many thousands of community pubs at risk. The large pub companies have had ten years to eliminate unfair practices and to properly support their licensees but have failed to do so. The case for Government action is overwhelming. We urge the Minister to come clean and announce whether or not the Government will stick to their pledge to introduce a Code and Adjudicator.

Left to their own devices the large pub companies will continue to force good licensees out of business and sell many hundreds of valued and profitable pubs for redevelopment. The solution to a decade of abuse is a Code, Adjudicator and an option for licensees to pay a market rent only giving them freedom to buy beer at open market prices.

The full consultation responses, alongside the Ministerial introduction are available at Website.

2013-10-28
LIVING PUB.
CAMRAs new research highlights the importance of the local pub in British lives

1 in 2 have attended a wedding reception in a pub
75% have celebrated a friend or family members birthday in a pub
1 in 5 people have met their current partner in a pub
36% have wet a babys head in a pub

New research commissioned by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, today highlights how important British pubs are in peoples lives and calls on the public to start using them more often before more close.

CAMRAs third national pub campaign of the year, Pubs in Our Lives, will run throughout October. The objective of the campaign is to highlight how often people use pubs for special events throughout their lives and ask the question Where would we be without the local?

The main findings of the new research were:

Have you ever done any of the following at the pub?

75% have celebrated a friend / family birthday
48% have celebrated a life at a wake
48% have had a date
42% have attended a wedding anniversary
36% have wet the babys head
20% have met their current partner

CAMRA has distributed approximately 6,500 free 'Pubs in Our Lives' promotional packs that include beer mats and posters to help pubs promote these important messages to their visitors.

Mike Benner, CAMRAs Chief Executive said, This new research shows how many communities rely on the pub to celebrate important landmarks in our lives from wetting the babys head to toasting someones life. With more local facilities like community halls closing around Britain, the British pub is for many the only facility the community can use. The new research does throw open the question - Where would we be celebrating special occasions or meeting our future loved ones without the local pub?

CAMRAs Key Campaign to 'raise the profile of pub-going and increase the number of people using pubs regularly' has already encompassed Community Pubs Month in April and Pubs & Charity Month in July. CAMRA is also carrying out a multitude of research for this Key Campaign with both pub-goers and non pub-goers to see if there is a demand for different pub models in Britain which might encourage more people to use British pubs.

Mr Benner concluded with a call for support from the British public. He said Almost 4 in 10 pub-goers highlighted in the new research that they are visiting the pub less often that they did just 12 months ago. This is worrying and as a staggering 26 pubs are still closing every week it is important we use our pubs more regularly and not only for these special occasions. The British pub needs the British publics support throughout the year otherwise community life will diminish in many parts of the country.

2013-07-07
Fire, Fire.
The Horse and Jockey in Stanford in the Vale is a 600-year-old building and the only pub in the village. Unfortunately it has been hit by a fire on Saturday evening that has caused considerable damage to the first and second floors. A 'large number' of guests had to be evacuated but no-one was hurt.

It took more than 50 firefighters and 14 vehicles to put it out, but some of the roof was saved.

2013-07-05
CRAFTY ALE
Marston's has declined to comment on the suggestion it's launched a new "craft beer" range simply for commercial reasons.

The brewery published results of market research showing consumers were prepared to pay more for "craft" beer at the same time as announcing the first in a new range of limited edition keg beers.

According to Marstons sale director James Coyle market research shows sales of craft beers growing at 86 per cent year on year and consumers are willing to pay an average premium of 33p/pint compared to standard beers.

The new lager, Revisionist Craft Lager, joins Shipyard American Pale Ale (Marstons collaboration with American brewer Shipyard Brewing Co) and Marstons Oyster, beers which the company says drinkers are prepared to pay a premium for.

According to Marstons the beer is crafted with lager malt and a blend of German Hallertau Magnum and Tradition hops, plus Slovenian Styrian, and then dry hopped with British Admiral and Boadicea varieties.

And like all the beers in the Revisionist range it is cold conditioned and micro filtered (rather than pasteurised) and packaged in smaller 30-litre keg containers.

Coyle said: Whilst the overall beer market continues to decline, more premium formats of beer, including cask ales, world lagers and craft beers continue to deliver opportunities for growth.

Our annual drinker survey revealed that consumers see craft beers as delivering more taste and flavour than standard beers. They are found in more limited distribution and are produced by smaller, regional and less well-known international brewers, with a passion for process and ingredients.

He said: The development of the Revisionist range and our collaboration with Shipyard is just the beginning of what is set to be a very exciting time for Marstons in terms of new product development.

2013-04-29
DOWN ESCALATOR
The end to the hated beer duty escalator plus a surprise cut in beer duty of 1 penny was a huge vote of confidence in beer and pubs. Nearly half a billion pounds has been set aside to fund this duty reduction over the next couple of years. The last time beer tax went down was in 1959! This massive investment will mean fewer pub closures, fewer job losses and lower increases in the price of a pint.

CAMRA's submission to the Treasury and economic argument around this campaign showed that the beer duty escalator was a failing policy with the heavy increase in duty since 2008 causing a fall in beer duty revenue due to falling sales. This campaign win is a small step to get more people back into pubs and drinking real ale paying back the Government investment through beer and pubs market growth.

A planned 5% increase in beer duty this year was replaced by a 2% cut. In addition, next year beer duty is planned to rise only by inflation not by inflation plus 2%. This excellent news will help keep the lid on beer prices in pubs and avert the necessity for a 10p a pint increase.

Many brewers and pub companies have already increased their beer prices this year to reflect increased costs in line with inflation. Yesterdays Budget news will mean that many pubs will now be able to hold prices for the rest of this year meaning the full benefit will be passed onto consumers. Both Heineken and Enterprise Inns immediately promised to pass on the penny duty cut to customers.

Of course, CAMRA's campaign against the escalator was not about securing price cuts for consumers. Its overarching aim was to stop tax killing beer and pubs. If the benefit of the Budgets beer duty change was evenly distributed to each pub it would be worth around 5,000 per pub between now and the next election.

CAMRA (working closely with the BBPA and SIBA) have led a huge year long consumer campaign to secure the end of the Escalator. This campaign has involved getting over 108,000 signatures on the beer tax e-petition. Over the year more than 8,000 CAMRA members have written to their local MPs and as a result of CAMRAs Mass Lobby day over 200 MPs held meetings with their constituents where they heard directly about the harm being caused by the duty escalator.

The duty escalator remains in place for cider, wine and spirits meaning that regrettably real cider was yesterday hit by a 5% duty increase.

The challenge now is to maintain the campaigning momentum and to ensure that Budget 2014 contains more good news.

2013-03-15
CLOSED FOR BUSINESS.
CAMRA hosted a summit recently on protecting Londons pubs from closure. The summit brought together London Councillors, MPs, Assembly Members and enable pub campaigners to call on councils to help secure the future of one of the capitals biggest attractions the Great British Pub.

Pub going remains among the most popular leisure pursuit in London with around 2 million visiting the pub on a regular basis but despite this pubs are still closing at an alarming rate. New CAMRA figures show that during 2012 London experienced a net loss of 2 pubs a week. CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: With property values being so high in London, and supermarkets and betting shop chains exploiting planning loopholes to expand their London presence, even profitable pubs face a serious threat to their future from developers. The good news is local councils do have powers to be the last line of defence in protecting pubs. Tonights summit will enable CAMRA to urge councils to use these powers by supporting communities to list pubs as Assets of Community Value, remove development rights to help prevent valued pubs being converted into supermarkets, betting shops and other uses and to ensure Local Plans contain pro-pub policies.

The new closure figures come at a time when a recent CAMRA survey shows over two thirds of Londons pub goers believe a well-run community pub is as important to community life as a post office, local shop or community centre.

London Assembly Member Tom Copley said: We need to protect Londons pubs, there are an ever decreasing number and too many are being sold off for flats or other uses. Good, well-run pubs, are the heart and soul of so many town centres and communities across London.

Im delighted to be hosting this event with CAMRA who do vital work supporting real ale pubs and breweries across the country. We are bringing together pub campaigners from across our city to come up with a plan to save the London pub. We are also showcasing some of the finest ales brewed in London, local breweries not only deliver a range of fantastic drinks but also support jobs across our city and keep alive the skills for the future.

2013-03-10
UP THE DOWN SIDE.
With just over two weeks to go until the Chancellor announces the budget, momentum is gathering behind CAMRAs long running campaign to end the unfair beer duty escalator. Marcus Jones, Conservative MP for Nuneaton, secured a high profile parliamentary debate on the beer duty escalator. Due to take place on Tuesday 5th March, the hour and a half long debate will see MPs debate the effect of the duty escalator on communities, jobs and pubs. Speaking about the debate, Marcus said:

"The beer duty escalator is a disproportionate tax which is damaging the beer and pub industry, costing many of our communities their local pubs and the jobs that they sustain".

More and more MPs are getting behind the campaign to scrap the beer duty escalator following incredible campaigning efforts from CAMRA members. Highlights include over 108,000 people signing an e-petition, 1,200 attending a parliamentary mass lobby and over 6,000 members emailing their MPs.

Meanwhile, CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner is due to meet treasury ministers to press for the abolition of the beer duty escalator.

National paper The Sun has thrown its influential weight behind the cause, launching its new Axe Beer Tax campaign. Speaking to The Publicans Morning Advertiser, The Sun said The freeze would cost Mr Osborne less than 10m- a tiny sum compared to our successful campaign to abolish fuel duty rises. Additionally, the Tax Payers Alliance lobby group has launched their own Mash Beer Tax campaign.

Also this week, CAMRAs Head of Public Affairs Jonathan Mail joined MPs and representatives from the Society of Independent Brewers and the British Beer and Pub Association to deliver messages in a barrel to the Treasury from 60 MPs. The hand crafted barrel contained messages to the Treasury calling for an end to the beer duty escalator.

2013-02-27
NOWHERE TO GO
The pub industry is not in rude health, many publicans struggle to make a living in a climate where drinking is seen as a failing, the smoking ban, high beer tax and pub companies sucking the life out of their lessees.

The government has said it will act, though most governments seem to lack the will to help an industry made pariah by the health lobby.

For lots of people running a pub is a dream, somewhere in the country, or a busy city local. What could be better, chatting to customers, being bought the odd drink, sharing in the fun.

This is probably an idealised vision of life in the pub, the reality is often different. Being a publican is very hard work, from early in the morning until late at night, you are the leisure worker for other people's enjoyment. It is why many in the trade are shutting up shop and looking for more standard jobs that pay a real wage. Pub goers have stayed away during the recession as disposable income has dwindled and the beer duty escalator has bitten deep, but not in the supermarkets who deep discount. Some even argue the smoking ban has caused a fair few to avoid pubs.

Part of the problem is that a lot of pubs are owned by non-brewing pub companies who see their pubs as a cash machine. They force them into exclusivity deals, making them 'tied houses', that can only sell beer, wine and spirits supplied by them. The prices they are forced to pay for this privilege squeeze out any chance of making a decent living.

Pubs have changed enormously over the last 20 years, most now offer food, refurbishment has made them more welcoming, and opening hours are longer. But the biggest change came after the Conservative government of the late 1980s became concerned that large breweries owned too many pubs. The Monopolies and Mergers Commission found they were creating a 'complex monopoly', damaging the interests of publicans and customers.

The resulting 'Beer Orders' stipulated that no brewery was allowed to have more than 2,000 tied houses. This meant thousands of pubs were sold, many of them bought by companies which became known as 'pubcos', which, as they did not manufacture drinks themselves, were exempt from the terms of the Beer Orders. They quickly proliferated and the largest today are Enterprise and Punch Taverns, owning more than 8,000 establishments each.

Amid accusations that pubcos are exploiting tenants, the current government has promised to introduce a statutory code of practice - the details of which are still to be decided - to govern the relationship between them and landlords, overseen by an independent regulator. But Enterprise Inns said the tied house model was working for thousands of publicans, offering a "low cost of entry", as buying a lease was far cheaper than having to purchase the building outright. Chief executive Ted Tuppen argues that politicians are to blame for much of the malaise, particularly the beer duty escalator, which automatically rises at 2% above the rate of inflation. He said: "The past five years have clearly been difficult for publicans, with the smoking ban and irresponsibly low prices from supermarkets. In addition, the impact of the duty escalator has greatly contributed to the demise of many smaller, wet-led [beer, rather than food-oriented] pubs. During the past three years, whilst our average profit per pub has declined 12% to 67,000 per annum, the Treasury has increased its tax take by 19% to 145,000 per pub."

2012-12-05
KING FOR ALL SEASONS.
Greene King has had a bumper summer with a strong rise in sales and profits of 4.3%.

More interesting is that Greene King employs 22,000 people in more than 2,298 pubs, restaurants and hotels.

All of this despite a record wet summer.

2012-11-28
PUB OF THE YEAR
Pubs from north Wales, Kent, Lancashire and Devon vying for the crown of best in the UK!

Finalists-
-Bridge End Inn, Ruabon (5 Bridge Street, Wrexham, LL14 6DA)
-Conqueror Alehouse, Ramsgate (4C Grange Road, Kent, CT11 9LR)
-Baum, Rochdale (33-37 Toad Lane, Greater Manchester, OL12 0NU)
-Tom Cobley Tavern, Spreyton (Devon, EX17 5AL)


CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has officially announced the four pubs making it into the final of its National Pub of the Year competition for 2012.

CAMRAs National Pub of the Year competition has been going on throughout 2012, with local and regional judging rounds leading to these final stages.

Pubs are scored by CAMRA members on the various aspects which make up a great pub, including its community focus, service and welcome, atmosphere, decor, value for money, but most importantly for the judges, the quality of the real ale served.

The current national champion, the Bridge End Inn, in Ruabon, Wrexham, has continued its remarkable success in CAMRAs flagship competition, featuring once again in the final.

Peter McGivern, Bridge End Inn licensee, said:

We are extremely pleased to see how a year after our success as the overall winner in the competition, we are judged to be keeping up our high standards. Its a great credit to the staff and everyone involved in the pub that things are going well, we arent being complacent, and we are working to a high level all the time.

The other finalists are the Conqueror Alehouse in Ramsgate, Kent, The Baum in Rochdale, Lancashire, and the Tom Cobley Tavern in Spreyton, Devon.

The finalists all spoke of their delight at making the final.

Colin Aris, Conqueror Alehouse licensee, said:

We are obviously absolutely thrilled and proud to be the first micro pub and pub from Ramsgate to have ever got this far in this national competition. This success is vindication of the micro pub model, and shows such pubs have a valid place in todays industry.

Heidi Crompton, Baum co-owner, said:

We are ecstatic to hear this news of our success. We are one of the only traditional family pubs in our area, and are all about getting involved in the community. We ensure all our staff are well-trained and part of a big family here, and our emphasis is on buying and supporting local, independent producers - from our food to our beer.

Roger Cudlip, Tom Cobley Tavern licensee, said:

Its a bit of a shock to us, but fantastic news for us being a small pub in the middle of the countryside. This success is a big boost to all the staff, it puts us on the map and really brings in an awful lot of trade. Its great to get a bit of good news, were chuffed to bits.

With the overall winner of CAMRAs National Pub of the Year competition to be announced in February 2013, Julian Hough, CAMRA Pubs Director, spoke of the quality of the four finalists. He said:

In challenging economic times its a credit to each of these four pubs and their teams that they have reached the National final in CAMRAs Pub of the Year competition. Uniquely this year, all four are diverse in terms of size and business model. These pubs exemplify how combining first quality real ale, listening to the needs of their customer and community base, supporting local breweries and paying attention to detail can drive trade.

2012-11-08
UP THE ESCALATOR.
After eight months of hard work from CAMRA members and staff the call on Government to scrap the beer duty escalator has finally been debated in the Parliament.

Over 58 MPs from all parties unanimously backed the call on Government to review the beer duty escalator and present back before Budget 2013. CAMRA argued this was a fantastic step in the campaign and a fitting response to the 100,000 signatures on the e-petition.

CAMRA argues that the most fitting response would be for the Government to realise the escalator is an ineffective out of date policy which is damaging the beer and pub industry and scrap it, but the purpose of the debate was to propose a review and so they have had to settle for that.

The Treasury Minister Sajid Javid gave a luke warm response at the end of the debate, however, the vote and the will of Parliament will be adhered to.

CAMRA intends to continue to lobby for change. On Wednesday 12th December they would like 1000+ of their members, publicans, brewers and beer drinkers to join them in meeting with their MP. (To register and for more details go to www.saveyourpintlobby.co.uk)

Colin Valentine, CAMRA's National Chairman responsed to the beer tax debate by saying:

'CAMRA was delighted to see the ground swell of support from MPs from all parties in todays debate for a review of the damaging beer duty escalator. Passing a motion for the Government to conduct a thorough review of the economic and social impact of the escalator is a major step forward for the industry and sends out a clear message from inside Westminster that enough is enough.

'At a time when Britains pub closure rate is back on the rise, any review must take into account the 5,800+ pubs which have closed since the Governments punitive escalator system was introduced in 2008. It must also be reinforced that further planned increases will bring in no additional revenue for the next 3 years, and will only serve the purpose of harming many communities across Britain when their local pub is no longer able to run a viable business.

'Building on the success of todays debate, CAMRA will be upping the ante and looking ahead to its Mass Parliamentary Lobby on December 12th, where over 1,000 beer drinkers and pub goers will be descending upon Westminster to ensure MPs keep the pressure on Government to conduct a proper review and scrap the beer duty escalator.'

2012-10-22
GREENE KING
An interesting piece of archive footage from an early Greene King has come to light and is now available online.

Website

It shows a 1929 Greene King showing off its brewing process.

2012-10-16
BEST BEER.
Aletalk has launched the most comprehensive search for the best British beer of 2012. Now in its
second year, the competition runs until the end of November 2012, with the winners announced in early
December 2012.

Other beer competitions in the UK require entry by the brewers. Not all beers are entered for even the
most prestigious competitions. So how can they be objective? They cant.

Aletalks Britains Best Beer competition is unique in that 100% of beers brewed in the UK are
automatically entered. All styles are eligible; the only condition is that the beer must be genuinely brewed
in the UK.

Aletalks registered users can vote on their favourite beers in two categories: draught (cask or keg)
and packaged (bottled or canned). Voters can list up to three beers in each of the two categories. The
winners will be crowned aletalk's Best British Beer 2012 (draught) & aletalk's Best British Beer 2012
(packaged)

It is free to register with aletalk and registered users who vote in the competition will be entered
into the sites monthly draw to win a case of beer which this year has been kindly sponsored by on-line
beer retailer AlesbyMail.

For Further Information:
aletalk.co.uk: Steven Pejica spejica@aletalk.co.uk 07786 082669

2012-09-27
WINNERS
CAMRA has announced their top 16 pubs. These 16 Regional Pub of the Year winners will now compete to be crowned National Pub of the Year, with the announcement made in early 2013. Pubs are judged by CAMRA's 143,000 members on all the criteria that make a great pub, including atmosphere, decor, customer service, value for money, clientele mix, but most importantly, the quality of the real ale and cider/perry. The winners are:


Central Southern
Shoulder of Mutton
Wantage (38 Wallingford Street, Oxfordshire, OX12 8AX)
themutton.co.uk
Corner pub recently renovated by an enthusiastic landlord, renowned for its friendly atmosphere. The 10 beers are constantly changing, with a strong emphasis on LocAle it is the main outlet for Betjeman beers. The interior comprises public and lounge bars with traditional decor and furnishings, a small, cosy snug and a lay-by the corridor leading to the outdoor patio and function room. It also has a vegetarian restaurant. Regular folk music evenings are hosted and there is a weekly raffle. Local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2012.

East Anglia
Compasses
Littley Green (Essex, CM3 1BU)
compasseslittleygreen.co.uk
Local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2012, the former Ridley's Brewery tap is a picturesque Victorian country pub in a quiet hamlet. Beers are drawn direct from the cask in the half-cellar. The renowned filled huffers (giant baps) are available lunchtimes and evenings. There are seats and tables outside and in the large gardens. A folk evening is held monthly. Two or three guest beers are from local breweries, usually including one from Bishop Nick, and real ciders and perries are available.

East Midlands
Just Beer Micropub
Newark (Swan & Salmon Yard, 32A Castlegate, Nottinghamshire, NG24 1BG)
justbeermicropub.biz
Situated just off the historic Castlegate and near Newark Castle, Just Beer opened in 2010 and is Newark CAMRA's Pub of the Year 2012. The single small room has minimalist decor, helpful bar staff and a varied clientele. At least four ever-changing beers are sourced from small or microbreweries and rare beers are often available. Cider and perry are also served. No spirits, keg, lager, smooth or bottles, and no pool or TV.

Greater London
Hope
Carshalton (48 West Street, South-west London, SM5 2PR)
hopecarshalton.co.uk
A cosy, community-owned pub, free of tie, with a traditional, welcoming atmosphere and a large garden. Two regular and five guest beers, usually including a dark one and a strong one, are complemented by real ciders and a continental bottled beer selection. Regular ale festivals are held and bar billiards is available in the back room. Conversation is king, given that the venue is free of TV, muzak or machines. A full menu is served until 3pm, then bar meals until 10pm.

Greater Manchester
Baum
Rochdale (33-37 Toad Lane, Greater Manchester, OL12 0NU)
thebaum.co.uk
A split-level hostelry with old world charm next door to the world's first co-operative store. The Baum has eight handpumps, one dedicated to cider, and a large variety of continental bottled beers. Excellent food includes vegetarian dishes, with a tapas menu available at weekends. There is an upstairs dining/function room. The large rear garden, overlooked by a conservatory, contains two full-size ptanque pistes. Local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2009 and 2012.

Kent
Conqueror Alehouse
Ramsgate (4C Grange Road, Kent, CT11 9LR)
conqueror-alehouse.co.uk
Superb micropub, probably the smallest free house in Thanet, offering a fine selection of mainly local ales straight from the cask, as well as local Broomfield cider. Opened in November 2010 by an ex-local CAMRA chairman, it has room for about 20 customers. Named after a two-funnelled paddle steamer that operated excursions from Ramsgate in the early 1900s, old photos of the ship and its crew adorn the walls. This cosy, friendly pub offers a pleasant music- and TV-free atmosphere.

Merseyside and Cheshire
Lower Chequer
Sandbach (Crown Bank, Cheshire, CW11 1FW)
A warm welcome is assured from the award winning licensees who have rejuvenated this black and white timbered pub set back on the cobbled square. Dating from 1570, the interior has two rooms and outside there is seating to the front and a marquee and patio to the rear. Six real ales on offer, all from small breweries, with Beartown Kodiak Gold a regular plus other local and regional ales. A porter, mild or stout is always available as well as a cider and a perry.

North East
Ship Inn
High Hesleden (Durham, TS27 4QD)
theshipinn.net
Now in its 12th year of continual family ownership, complete satisfaction is guaranteed at this nautically-themed rural gem and 2011 local CAMRA award winner. The landlord serves seven ever-changing real beers, sourced mainly from microbreweries, and his wife runs the superb restaurant offering top-quality food at reasonable prices, including mid-week two-course specials. Six newly built chalets and the Crow's Nest self-contained flat provide good-value accommodation. There are stupendous coastal views from the well kept gardens.

Scotland and Northern Island
Woolpack Inn
Tillicoultry (1 Glassford Square, Clackmannanshire, FK13 6AU)
Originally a drovers' inn on the Southern foothills of the Ochil Hills, this is a genuine pub, well used by locals, with a comfortable feel, log fire and low ceilings, and no intrusive TV or music. Ales on three handpumps change regularly and there is a good selection of malt whiskies. Meals are available at weekends only. CAMRA Branch Pub of the Year 2012.

South West
Tom Cobley Tavern
Spreyton (Devon, EX17 5AL)
tomcobleytavern.co.uk
Family-run 16th-century village local, which still maintains the standards that won it CAMRAs National Pub of the Year a few years ago. There is an open fire in the bar and in Jimmys Snug children and dogs are welcome. On a warm day you can enjoy the surroundings of the large picturesque garden. Home-cooked food and daily specials are on the menu, plus traditional roasts on Sunday (booking advisable). Six comfortable guest rooms are available for night stops at this genuine gem.

Surrey and Sussex
Wilkes Head
Eastergate (Church Lane, West Sussex, PO20 3UT)
wilkesheadeastergate.co.uk
Named after 18th-century radical John Wilkes, this small Grade II-listed red-brick pub dates from 1803. There is a cosy lounge to the left of the central bar and a larger main bar with inglenook, flagstones and low beams, plus a separate restaurant. The large garden houses a comfortable heated smokers shelter. Four guest beers come from Punchs Finest Cask range or SIBA local direct delivery. A beer festival is staged in September. Local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2012.

Wales
Bridge End Inn
Ruabon (5 Bridge Street, Wrexham, LL14 6DA)
mcgivernales.co.uk
This former coaching inn near the station, owned by the McGivern Brewery with brewing on the premises, was voted CAMRA National Pub of the Year 2012. The welcoming three-roomed local has a whitewashed exterior and cosy public bar, reputed to be 300 years old, with a beamed ceiling and walls adorned with old breweriana. Children are welcome in the lounge until 7pm and there is a quiet room. Six changing guest ales include a stout and McGivern ale, plus a real cider. Groups can be catered for by arrangement. Live music features on Wednesday.

Wessex
Victoria & Albert
Netherhampton (Wiltshire, SP2 8PU)
This welcoming classic thatched inn dates from 1540. Inside, a log fire greets customers in the winter while outside a large garden and patio await. Three handpulls dispense an ever-changing range of real ales from far and wide. Food is prepared in the pub, ranging from light snacks to full meals. Local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2012. Quintessential England a gem.

West Midlands
Weighbridge
Alvechurch (Scarfield Wharf, Scarfield Hill, Worcestershire, B48 7SQ)
the-weighbridge.co.uk
Alongside the canal next to Alvechurch marina, this cosy pub has two lounges and a public bar. It has won many CAMRA awards and runs popular spring and autumn beer festivals. Good-value homecooked food is served lunchtimes and evenings (but no food Tue and Wed) with excellent Sunday lunches. Ample outdoor seating includes a heated marquee that can be used for functions. Two house beers, Kinver Bargees and Weatheroak Tillermans Tipple, are available and three changing guest beers, including a mild, plus a real cider/perry.

West Pennines
Bridge Bier Huis
Burnley (2 Bank Parade, Lancashire, BB11 1UH)
thebridgebierhuis.co.uk
Free house with a large open-plan bar area and a small snug to one side. It offers two Moorhouse's beers and three changing guests, mainly from microbreweries, alongside a real cider. More than 60 foreign bottled beers are available as well as seven foreign beers on tap, usually including two rare German beers. Wednesday is quiz night and some weekends live music is hosted. This welcoming pub opens at 5pm on a Tuesday evening if Burnley FC are playing.

Yorkshire
Kelham Island Tavern
Sheffield (62 Russell Street, South Yorkshire, S3 8RW)
kelhamislandtavern.co.uk
Former CAMRA National Pub of the Year, this small gem was rescued from dereliction in 2002. Twelve handpumps dispense an impressive range of beers, always including a mild, a stout and a porter, so you are sure to find something to suit your palate. In the warmer months you can relax in the pub's multi award-winning beer garden. Regular folk music features on Sunday and quiz night is Monday; no meals Sunday.

2012-09-21
100,000
The 20th September marked an exciting achievement for CAMRA as they gained the 100,000th signature on the e-petition calling for an end to the beer duty escalator. This does not mean you cannot still sign, but that this figure has triggered the path to a high-profile Parliamentary debate.

CAMRA said it is vital they keep the pressure up with just six months to go until the next Budget.

2012-09-10
MUSICAL CHAIRS.
This week the Government has undergone a major reshuffling of Ministers, which will see a lot of familiar faces leave and new faces come in.

On the way out is Treasury Minister Chloe Smith, so it will now be Sajid Javid MP responsible for deciding whether to abolish the unfair beer duty escalator policy following CAMRA's Save Your Pint e-petition campaign.

Also out is Norman Lamb, the Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs Minister whose role included overseeing the promise by big pub companies to give their licensees a fairer deal. He has been replaced with fellow Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson. Earlier this year Parliament voted for a review of the relationship between pubcos and their licensees so we hope this will be at the top of Jo's agenda.

In the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller is the new Secretary of State and John Penrose MP remains the Tourism Minister, responsible for promoting pubs as a fantastic tourist asset both in Britain and beyond.

However, rumours abound that Community Pubs Minister Bob Neill is no longer in his position and will return to being a backbench MP. This is a big blow to CAMRA as Bob has been supportive of CAMRA's campaigns to improve planning protection for pubs, and has overseen the introduction of the new National Planning Policy Framework that is already saving pubs. It's not yet clear who, if anybody, will take on the essential role of Community Pubs Minister.

2012-08-26
J'IPA'ur
It's been 200 years since English brewers started shipping strong, extra-hoppy India Pale Ale (IPA) beer to India. now it's making a tentative comeback via a handful of micro-pubs in Gurgaon, on the edge of Delhi.

Most of the beer drunk in India is lager, with the market dominated by brands like Kingfisher and Cobra. Even then it's a minority taste. More Indians drink locally-made whisky, or imported scotch for those who can afford it.

With changing attitudes and more money around, there is an appetite for new tastes - specially among India's burgeoning middle classes in hard-charging places like Gurgaon.

Inside the bars you could be anywhere, with Western music videos pumping from the screens, it's popular with the mainly younger Indians working in Gurgaon for companies like Google, as well as with expats.

Other microbreweries have focused on Belgian-style wheat beers and traditional lagers, but using the internet they source recipes and advice from other brewers to make what is known as "Corporate ale".

British brewers of IPA might be facing competition - from the real thing.

2012-08-20
CHAMPION
After a year of local tasting panels and regional heats leading up to the finals, CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is proud to announce that Coniston brewery's No.9 Barley Wine has been crowned the 'Best Beer' in Britain at the Great British Beer Festival, Olympia, London.

No.9 Barley Wine, which has an ABV of 8.5% was described by the judges as having fantastic finesse, reminiscent of a fine cognac.

The Coniston brewed real ale was judged the Supreme Champion over a host of other finalists in 7 different beer categories (Bitters, Best Bitters, Strong Bitters, Golden Ales, Milds, Winter Beers, and the Speciality class), including beers from both small microbrewers and large regional brewers.

Roger Protz, of the Final judging panel, spoke in praise of today's winner. He said:

The judges in the final tasting were overjoyed by the tremendous quality of the beers this year. There wasnt a poor beer in the competition, and they were all of the highest quality. It was a tough choice, and the final results were very close.

David Smith of Coniston brewery, said:

We were delighted to win the competition in 1998 with Bluebird, and we are delighted to win again! Weve always been at the top and were glad to regain the recognition we deserve. Its an all-British beer using solely British ingredients, very fitting for this Diamond Jubilee year.

With Coniston securing the Gold award for 2012, this year's Silver went to Green Jack brewery's Trawlerboys Best Bitter, whilst the Bronze award went to Dark Star, American Pale Ale.

Conistons No.9 Barley Wine is available at the Great British Beer Festival this week, and is best supped in third or half pint measures. Barley wines go perfectly with aged or blue cheeses.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive said:

Its great to see a rare beer style being championed. Obviously its a fairly strong beer, therefore it is a great opportunity for pubs to try third pint glassware so consumers can enjoy this wonderful ale in moderation.


Overall winners-
Gold- Coniston, No.9 Barley Wine (from Coniston, Cumbria)
Silver- Green Jack, Trawlerboys Best Bitter (from Lowestoft, Suffolk)
Bronze- Dark Star, American Pale Ale (from Horsham, West Sussex)

Mild category-
Gold- Rudgate, Ruby Mild (from York, North Yorkshire)
Silver- Hobsons, Hobsons Mild (from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire)
Bronze- Son of Sid, Muckcart Mild (from Little Gransden, Bedfordshire)

Bitters-
Gold- Purple Moose, Snowdonia Ale (from Porthmadog, Gwynedd)
Silver- Tintagel, Castle Gold (from Tintagel, Cornwall)
Joint Bronze- Flowerpots, Bitter (from Cheriton, Hampshire)
Joint Bronze- Fullers, Gales Seafarers Ale (from London, W4)
Joint Bronze- Salopian, Shropshire Gold (from Shrewsbury, Shropshire)

Best Bitters-
Gold- Green Jack, Trawlerboys Best Bitter (from Lowestoft, Suffolk)
Silver, Salopian, Hop Twister (from Shrewsbury, Shropshire)
Joint Bronze- Oakwell, Senior Bitter (from Barnsley, South Yorkshire)
Joint Bronze- Milton, Pegasus (from Milton, Cambridgeshire)

Golden Ales-
Gold- Dark Star, American Pale Ale (from Horsham, West Sussex)
Silver- Cumbrian Legendary Ales, Langdale (from Hawkshead, Cumbria)
Bronze- Hobsons, Town Crier (from Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire)

Strong Bitters-
Gold- Dark Star, Festival (from Horsham, West Sussex)
Silver- OHanlons, Stormstay (from Whimple, Devon)
Bronze- Highland, Orkney IPA (from Swannay, Orkney)

Speciality Beers-
Gold- Dunham Massey, Chocolate Cherry Mild (from Dunham Massey, Gtr Manchester)
Silver- Little Valley, Hebdens Wheat (from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire)
Bronze- Nethergate, Umbel Magna (from Pentlow, Essex)

Champion Winter Beer of Britain (from category winners announced in January 2012)-
Coniston, No.9 Barley Wine (from Coniston, Cumbria)
Hammerpot, Bottle Wreck Porter (from Poling, West Sussex)
Cairngorm, Black Gold (from Aviemore, Highlands)
Driftwood, Alfies Revenge (from St Agnes, Cornwall)

Champion Bottled Beer of Britain winners-
Gold- Stewart, Embra (from Loanhead, Midlothian)
Silver- Great Gable, Yewbarrow (from Egremont, Cumbria)
Bronze- Molson Coors, Worthingtons White Shield (from Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire)

2012-08-03
UK FESTIVAL
The country is celebrating Team GB climbing up the medal table in pubs across the country. CAMRA is preparing for a whole different kind of celebration as we gear up for the Great British Beer Festival.

It will be the biggest beer festival in the UK having returned to Olympia and will be open from 7th 11thAugust. With over 800 real ales, ciders and foreign beers available we are expecting over 50,000 people to attend. With entertainment at the festival ranging from a world record attempt to the now legendary 'Hat Day' the festival is guaranteed to entertain all those that attend.

While we expect everyone to have a great time we arent forgetting the campaigning side of our organisation. We have been to beer festivals all around the country from Edinburgh to Ealing asking people to sign our e-petition against the beer tax escalator. We have received a great response from both members and the public and have reached over 71,000 signatures.

We hope that we will be able to collect thousands of signatures over the course of the GBBF festival and bring the campaign ever closer to reaching our goal of 100,000 signatures which will force Parliament to hold a debate on this critical issue. Hopefully the size of our banner in at Olympia will ensure festival-goers know about the campaign!

If you would like to sign or get further information on the campaign, you can either visit the Save your Pint website or sign a postcard and drop it into one of the ballot boxes you will find all over the festival site. If you have trouble finding a ballot box during the festival, please just ask one of the many CAMRA volunteers who will be helping run the festival.

2012-06-30
NOT MILD FOR THE TIME OF YEAR.
Ansells has stopped producing cask Mild, claiming there is not enough demand for it.

Ansells have brewed Mild since the late 1800s, said it will now only be available in keg. The owners of Ansells, Carlsberg, said it could not commercially brew a viable volume as only 300 casks were ordered in the last year.

While Mild as had a reputation as an old man''s drink, it still seems to be popular enough for micro-breweries to make a profit from, as the successful ''Mild in May'' promotion for CAMRA shows.

CAMRA''s ''Mild in May'' has been running for over 10 years during which time it has seen a resurgence.

Jon Howard, CAMRA spokesman, said at the end of the 20th Century there were 500 real ale breweries in the UK while in 2012 there are over 850 with 80 of those based in the West Midlands.

He said: "The growth in the number of breweries on these shores in recent years has been staggering. This incredible growth has been fuelled by a new generation of discerning, savvy consumers who appreciate quality, provenance and actively support local businesses. Many of these consumers have grown tired of drinking the same international brands, and this has helped the wider revival of many traditional beer styles such as the mild."

There are currently thought to be around 230 mild beers brewed in the UK - double the number that were available in 2000.

Mr Howard added: "While the news about Ansells Mild is disappointing as it was a well loved brand, thankfully across the UK the mild has undergone a mini-renaissance."

For example, Hobsons Brewery''s ''Hobsons Mild'' won CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain in 2007.

Kate Pearce, marketing manager for Hobsons, said the company had worked to change people''s perceptions of the drink. "We''ve tried to make it more contemporary by showing women drinking it in our marketing so people stop viewing it as an old man''s drink. In the Midlands it was linked to industrial workers who liked it because it was refreshing and cheap but it also had a reputation for not having much flavour. We developed a mild that is low strength but with a very smooth flavour."

During CAMRA''s Mild Month Hobson''s sees a 26% increase in demand with pubs across Shropshire and surrounding counties keen to stock the brew.

2012-05-24
MAKE YOUR MARK.
CAMRA are approaching the half way mark in their bid to gain 100,000 signatures on their e-petition regarding the beer escalator.

There is still a long way to go until the end.

If you are a CAMRA member and dont know about the e-petition then pop over to the dedicated microsite saveyourpint.co.uk, get the info and sign the e-petition.

CAMRA have sent out 4000 pub packs of campaigning material, which includes 400,000 QR codes. Warrington branch has distributed 25,000 beer mats in one order, and over 400 packs having been distributed in Yorkshire.

There immediate goal is 55,000 signatures by the end of May. They ask that people everywhere help them achieve this goal.

2012-05-07
ANY OLD IRONY?
Boris Johnson, the returned Mayor of London sent a message to CAMRA on the importance of pubs to London. Boris promised to invest in transforming local high streets if he won the election on 3rd May, increasing footfall so more people visit their local pubs.

Boris said:

For centuries Londons pubs have played a key role at the heart of their communities, a role which I hope will come to the fore as we prepare to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. These must not, however, be one off events. We must all work to ensure that pubs, as small businesses and community hubs, are given the support they need in tough times.

It is to this end that I am investing 221 million to transform local high streets and support small businesses. As we make our high streets and neighbouring areas more attractive to shoppers, increasing footfall and the amount of time people spend there, all businesses including pubs will benefit.

Pubs are so much more than a place to drink and I am determined, with your help, to keep it this way.

Now e has won, the proof will be in the drinking....

2012-04-20
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING BREW.
Benedictine monks at Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire have been brewing a new beer based on a recipe that dates back to the 17th Century.

The monks have adapted the recipe to create a double fermented beer which contains 7% alcohol.

2012-03-03
NO LOVE LOST.
Sales of lager have slumped in the UK as the public go off what was its favourite tipple.

The usual Saturday night fayre of pints and pints of lager has lost its appeal for many young men. It remains the most widely drunk variety of beer, but has slumped to an all time low of 11.4bn in sales for 2011.

By contrast cider has flourished, increasing its sales year on year. While same cannot be said of ale, it has still held its own through the burgeoning real ale market which has seen its fortunes grown year on year.

Part of the problem is that people are turning to home-grown products that reflect the effort of the producer. This is only really true of real ale and cider, with larger seen as soulless and synthetic.

Part of the decline has to do with increased government-sponsored health campaigns and increased taxation that has pushed larger to beomce more expensive than real ale.

Now that the social changes brought about by the boom 1980s has passed, the young who sloughed off the drink of their fathers have realised that their favourite tipple has no flavour and are turning to something with more flavour and provenance.

2012-02-21
HOORAY FOR HENLY-WOOD
It's hooray for Henley as Brakspear pubs stage a tax free beer day

Ten Brakspear pubs in Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire are to stage a tax-free beer day on Tuesday 28 February. The pubco says it want to highlight the punitive taxation on beer in the run up to next months Budget and encouraging the towns drinkers to sign a petition calling for a more pub-friendly tax regime.

From opening to last orders, all the pubs will be selling pints of Brakspear Bitter, at 1.30 off their normal selling price usually around 3.10 - 3.30 for a pint of Brakspear.

Beer duty, VAT and other taxes together add around 1.30 to a pint of beer (based on a price of 3.10), turning what should be one of lifes affordable pleasures into an irregular treat for many people and contributing to pub closures.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said, The great British pub has been hammered by beer duty and VAT increases, while the recession has forced people to cut down on leisure spending. Its no surprise that pubs are struggling.

Not only are pub closures bad for the economy, theyre also bad for society: pubs are the home of responsible, supervised drinking where beer, a low alcohol drink, is enjoyed as part of a social interaction. This is far preferable to the uncontrolled consumption, often on park benches, of higher alcohol drinks purchased from supermarkets.

We hope our Tax-Free Day encourages more people to enjoy a pint or two in their Brakspear local and inspires them to sign our petition to help protect these pubs."

2012-02-11
PUB OF THE YEAR.
A small community pub in North Wales that was only taken over by a local family three years ago has been declared as the best pub in Britain.

The Bridge End Inn, in Ruabon serves seven real ales and a selection of local ciders. It is run by the McGivern family and has a brewery on site.

This is the first time a Welsh pub has won the CAMRA award.

2012-01-22
LITERALLY OLD ALE.
A 75-year-old ale that never went on sale hs recently come to light. It was brewed for the coronation of Edward VIII.

Greene King from Suffolk found it in a bricked up cellar and never went on sale as the King abdicated soon after ascending to the throne.

When a bottle was opened it was found to be quite drinkable. Originally it was a 12 per cent ale, so in laying it down for so long, it has aged like a good port.

It isn't for sale at present, but it would command a high price if it did.

2012-01-07
PUB OF THE YEAR.
CAMRA officially announced the four finalists of its National Pub of the Year competition for 2011.

CAMRA's National Pub of the Year competition has been going on throughout 2011, with local and regional judging rounds leading to these final stages. Pubs are scored by CAMRA on various aspects which make up a great pub, including the atmosphere, decor, customer service, value for money, clientele mix, but most importantly, the quality of the beer served.

With The Harp, Covent Garden, London, the present national champion in CAMRAs flagship pub competition, the following four outstanding pubs up for the prize this year are-

Engineers Arms, 68 High Street, Henlow, Bedfordshire, SG16 6AA
Tel. 01462 812284, www.engineersarms.co.uk

'This lively two-bar pub in the centre of the village is a must for real ale fans, with 10 handpumps featuring a wide range and style of beers. There are also five ciders and a perry on offer, typically from Westons. The bar room walls are covered in pictures dedicated to local history, sports stars and brewery memorabilia.'

Kevin Machin, Engineers Arms licensee, said: 'We are elated to have reached the final four, and it's a great honour. Everyone's so excited around here that we've reached this stage of the competition. We were delighted just to have won the title of best pub in East Anglia.'

Bridge End Inn, 5 Bridge Street, Ruabon, Wrexham, LL14 6DA
Tel. 01978 810881, www.mcgivernales.co.uk

'This former coaching inn close to the station has been completely revitalised since it was taken over by the McGivern family in 2009. It has proved so popular with locals and real ale aficionados from further afield that it was voted CAMRA Branch Pub of the Year in 2010.'

Peter McGivern, Bridge End Inn licensee, said: 'We are genuinely chuffed to be in the final, being a small family business having only taken over the pub two and a half years ago. Our bar staff here are dedicated to knowing about their beer, and how to look after it, and we have an ever changing range, with over 100 different microbrewers on show on our pumps each year.'

Front, Custom House Quay, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 3JT
Tel. 01326 212168

'Tucked away in a corner of the picturesque Custom House Quay, this small cellar-style pub with low-vaulted ceiling lies below Trago Mills store. A popular student haunt, a whole range of live entertainment is on offer during the evenings- folk, shanty singers, open mike and more. Guest beers constantly vary to provide a year-round beer festival. There's no food, but you may bring your own from various nearby outlets.'

Matt Reay, Front general manager, said: 'It's a quite unbelievable achievement for us bearing in mind we are only a little bar on the waterfront. We put so much work into serving our beer in tip top condition, and we are dedicated to giving good service to our customers, and providing a great atmosphere.'

Swan with Two Necks, Main Street, Pendleton, Lancashire, BB7 1PT
Tel. 01200 423112, www.swanwithtwonecks.co.uk

'A true local in every sense, with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and traditional, home-cooked food with ingredients from local suppliers. The licensees are both CAMRA members and are celebrating their 25th anniversary running the pub. Four handpumps regularly feature beers from George Wright and Phoenix, and sometimes also from one of the local micro-breweries. Westons cider is a standard here. Rosie the cat is a local legend, as is the vast collection of teapots.'

Christine Dilworth, Swan with Two Necks proprietor, said: 'We have never been recognised like this before, so to reach these final stages is fantastic. We are a village establishment, and there is a real buzz around the community, with new people from across Britain coming to visit the pub in light of our success. Being the national winner would cap a great 25 years running the pub!'

Julian Hough, CAMRA Pubs Director, said:

'It's great to see four finalists which haven't featured at this stage of the competition over the last decade, as this shows just how many exemplary community pubs remain across Britain.'

2011-12-14
SWIPE ME A BEER
A pub landlord has designed swipe-card machines in his pub to dispense beer and is now ready to introduce the system before Christmas.

He has included a brewery metering system to dispense "bang on" half a pint to customers and has been told it is ready to use by trading standards.

Mr Barron has a patent pending on the design and said he was not aware of any other machine like it. Two machines will dispense lager and one bitter.

Trading standards officers had previously told him the machine could only dispense drink in metered measures and not be free-flow.

He said he did not think the dispensers would introduce the concept of a fully self-service pub and did not want to "do away with bar staff". Customers must go to the bar to buy the pre-paid card so staff control its use he added.

Mr Barron is now thinking about introducing his dispenser to concert organisers. He believes the machine could help to shorten bar queues at busy venues.

2011-12-12
HAIL TO THE AUTHOR
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale was delighted as the news beer writers Des De Moor and Adrian Tierney-Jones have come up trumps at the British Guild of Beer Writers Annual Awards Dinner, in December, at the London Riverside Park Plaza.

Awarded the 'Budweiser Budvar John White Travel Bursary' for beer and travel writing in relation to CAMRA's London Best Beer, Pubs & Bars, Des De Moor received a 1,000 prize and trip to the Czech Republic.

Judging the award was a panel of beer writers, brewers and publishers. In the wake of his victory, Des De Moor said:

'I'm delighted to have won this award. I'm very proud of the book, which I had the opportunity to write for CAMRA at a very exciting moment for beer, brewing and pubs in London, with brewery numbers tripling and dazzling new beer pubs appearing almost weekly. So it's great to have that recognition from fellow beer writers, editors and publishers on the judging panel, and reinforces all the positive feedback I've been getting from readers. And it was a great night for London beer overall, as Evin O'Riordain of the Kernel, one of London's outstanding new brewers, justly claimed the award for brewer of the year.'

Meanwhile, the same panel of judges awarded Adrian Tierney-Jones the 'Molson Coors Award for Best Writing in National Media', with the writer scooping a 1,000 prize. Although hailed for his overall journalistic work, Tierney-Jones' specific work as author of CAMRA's Great British Pubs was highlighted as a major factor in the decision.

Simon Hall, Head of Publishing at CAMRA, praised both author's achievements after a great night for the Campaign's newly released publications. He said:

'It was a pleasure to work with both Des and Adrian this year and I am very proud of the books they wrote for us. These awards are welcome recognition of their efforts in championing great British beer and pubs, which is what CAMRA's publishing is all about. I hope Des and Adrian had a drink or two in celebration and I look forward to working with them again on more books in the future.'

2011-12-04
DEM APPLES
Many cider producers in England have said they have had their biggest ever apple crop following a very cold winter and warm spring. Herefordshire firms have done especially well with both Bulmers and Westons Cider reporting bumper crops.

Nigel Kitney is chair of the research-based Horticultural Development Company. He said: "Yields are up across the country and the very cold winter laid the foundations for a vintage year."

Mr Kitney, who runs Old Grove Farm in Herefordshire, said apple trees reacted well to the cold weather earlier in the year.

"In a mild winter the trees fritter the goodness away but when it's cold they store it all up like a coiled spring. When we had that wonderful April, they were in good condition for flowering and that coiled spring exploded ready for a tremendous season."

Chris Fairs from Bulmers said: "We were worried about the early frost and thought crops would be down by as much as 20% earlier in the year; the warning signs suggested there was a chance of serious damage. In the end there was a huge amount of blossom everywhere and those of our orchards that weren't affected had record numbers of apples on the trees."

He said Bulmers' apple crop was up from 105,000 to 117,000 tonnes, while Westons harvested 17,500 tonnes compared to 14,500 tonnes last year.

Westons' trade marketing manager Helen McIlveen said: "It's the biggest harvest we have ever had, it's been top quality with high levels of sugar."

However Mr Kitney stressed that there were some exceptions to the rule and the May frost affected many smaller orchards.

Diane Phillips runs Pips Cider and has a five-acre orchard in Herefordshire.

She said: "Where would normally have had 5.6 tonnes, we've had only just over a tonne. We're lucky we had so much cider left over from last year: this year's harvest won't affect our sales."

Mark Henderson from the Kent Cider Company said 2011 had been a good year but not necessarily a bumper one.

"The apples have been smaller but we've had the same tonnage this year. However we have finished harvesting three weeks earlier than usual and that is because of the cold winter and very hot spring."

2011-11-28
WEAK AS WIZZ
The Campaign for Real Ale has criticised the Government for declining to address key failings in the pubs market in its response to a call for Government intervention from the Business Select Committee. The 130,000 strong consumer group claims the failure to take action to require pub companies to offer genuine free of tie and guest beer options to lessees will do little to re-balance the relationship between struggling licensees and large pub companies.

CAMRA has expressed serious concern that the deal announced between Government and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) may not be realised given pub companies' history of broken promises and abandoned commitments and has questioned why there has not been a full public consultation to consider the agreed measures. The BBPA and the large pub companies have repeatedly promised fundamental change since 2004 but on every occasion have failed to deliver.

The reform package promises some small steps forward including a new arbitration service, a requirement to follow rental guidelines and to publish national wholesale price lists. These small steps alone however will not be sufficient to avert the disaster facing many thousands of tied pubs being charged excessive rents and forced to purchase grossly overpriced tied products.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:

'The Government has been cavalier in rejecting the recommendations of the Business Select Committee and instead putting its faith in the ability of the very companies accused of malpractice to finally put their house in order. The lack of any formal public consultation on this package of measures is truly remarkable and suggests a failure of Government to listen to all interested parties including the consumer.

'We are pleased the Government has recognised the serious problems of unfair practice in the relationship between the large pub companies and lessees but deeply disappointed that they are proposing only a weak package of reforms. Given repeated broken promises from the pub companies, consumers and publicans will no doubt be highly sceptical whether much of this will be delivered.

'Pubs are vitally important not just to the millions of regular pub goers but also to the health of communities and the overall economy. The failure of the Government to secure a more substantial reform package is a massive blow to the Prime Minister's aspirations to lead a "pub friendly Government".'

2011-11-12
GREAT BRITISH PUBS
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has released a new publication which has taken on the ambitious task of celebrating everything great about the British pub.

CAMRA's Great British Pubs is the definitive collection of the must-visit pubs that can be found from the tip of Cornwall to the Scottish Highlands. Compiled by internationally-acclaimed beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones (1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die) the book's categorised reviews detail over 200 public houses of all shapes and sizes that represent the best of this British institution.

Recent research shows 76% of adults in the UK think that the pub makes an important contribution to British life and when asked about why he wanted to write a book on the subject Tierney-Jones explained:

'The British Pub is a unique institution and despite many efforts to replicate it throughout the world its heart is in these islands - and the other unique aspect of the pub is that it's also the only place where you can drink cask beer; you cannot do it at home unless of course you live in a pub. I'm a writer, I like pubs and beer. It's a no-brainer.

'All these pubs have something to offer beyond the promise of good beer, great food and plenty of cheer. They also offer a chance to step into another world for a while.

'I visited the majority of the pubs, while the others were recommended to me by friends, colleagues and CAMRA members. Some will agree, some will disagree, but that's the beauty of the British pub, it stirs the emotions, and makes people care.'

The best...

Every kind of pub is represented in the 23 categories that make up CAMRA's Great British Pubs, with listings and full-colour photography illustrating a host of excellent pubs from the seaside to the city and from the historic to the ultra-modern.

For the category, 'The best beer ranges', Adrian Tierney-Jones recommends the following pubs as outlets which offer the beer connoisseur a reason to step into their confines and study the beers within-

Bhurtpore Inn, Aston, Cheshire- 'This is an Aladdin's cave of drink for cask beer lovers, but what makes it slightly different is that all the ales are guests'

Cambridge Blue, Cambridge- 'If you have a thirst for beer then this is the right place to come - up to 16 cask beers are often available'

Cask Pub and Kitchen, Pimlico, London- 'The wall behind the bar is lined with glass-fronted coolers, where hundreds of bottled beers rest waiting to be picked out. Ask for a beer menu and you'll probably find something you've never had before'

Cloisters Bar, Edinburgh- 'There are usually up to nine cask beers on offer, from both the growing number of Scottish craft breweries and further afield'

Grove, Huddersfield- 'So many beers, so little time. There can be up to 18 cask beers available at the Grove and if that's not enough there's also a trio of draught ciders and nearly 300 bottled beers from around the world'

Halfway House, Pitney, Somerset- 'Above the small bar, a chalkboard offers between eight and 12 West Country cask beers, all of them drawn straight from the barrel in a cool room at the back'

The Pub, Leicester- 'The Pub might have the most minimal name in British pub culture, but there's nothing sketchy or meagre in what it offers the good people of Leicester'

The Rake, Borough, London- 'Cask beers from all over the country can be found on any given day: Dark Star, Otley, Hardknott and Rudgate for instance. There are also special festivals showcasing beers from various regions of the British Isles'

Southampton Arms, Kentish Town, London- 'There is no regular beer so expect all manner of treats'

Tom Cobley, Spreyton, Devon- 'I can testify that every time I pitch up here and taste several of the beers, they're all in tip-top condition'

White Horse, Parsons Green, London- 'Cask beer? Six to eight are usually on offer, with regulars Harveys and Adnams joined by beers from across the nation. There are also beer festivals throughout the year with the most famous being the Old Ales one at the end of November'

To further inform the reader, articles on brewing, cider making, classic pub food recipes and traditional pub games are included to emphasise the diversity of the Great British pub, and its many quirks. The publication also acts as a travel guide for all beer and pub lovers, with pubs presented as a stopover from which you can explore the beauty of both urban and rural landscapes, from Scotland to the Lake District to London.

2011-10-08
THE PEOPLE'S PINT
'People's Pint' to give pub goers new options for a lower calorie pint, pace their consumption, save up to 50p compared to an average pint, and even help rehydrate!

1 in 2 pub goers would like a low strength beer option down their local.

In a taste test, beer experts couldn't differentiate between a low and mid strength real ale.

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has welcomed the Government's decision to introduce a 50% excise duty reduction on beers at or below 2.8% ABV from October 2011 in a move that will allow consumers to enjoy a lower priced and lower strength pint in their local.

CAMRA predicts the introduction of low strength beers - dubbed the 'People's Pints' - in pubs could be a huge boost to the licensed trade in light of new consumer research - out today - showing how 1 in 2 regular pub goers would like to see more pubs selling a low strength beer option.

Building on the success of a campaign which CAMRA has been leading since 2009, further new research has shown how pub goers would like to see more pubs selling low strength beers due to factors such as the ability to help regulate drinking levels, their more refreshing taste, their low calorie content, and their lower cost.

CAMRA estimates that someone drinking a pint in a pub could save 50p per pint if they choose a lower strength beer compared to an average 4% ABV bitter.

Mike Benner, CAMRA's Chief Executive, said:

'On the basis of today's research, CAMRA believes the introduction of a low strength beer option in pubs could be a great selling point for all licensees looking to offer diversity and choice to their customers, as well as making it easier to regulate their drinking.

'Brewers are proving it is wholly possible to brew a low strength real ale packed with flavour, and as we've emphasised before, introducing the 'People's Pint' into pubs is a win-win scenario for both the industry and Government in promoting a responsible drinking message.

'Lower strength beers also offer a great choice to the health-conscious consumer as they have fewer calories than stronger drinks, so there's no need to ditch your pint if you are counting the calories and research has shown that they are effective in rehydrating***. With lower strength real ales you have a product that is natural, refreshing, and can be part of a healthy lifestyle.

'A lower rate of duty on lower strength beers is a win-win scenario for the industry and for Government and CAMRA is urging the Government to call for the EU Excise Directives to be amended to enable beers up to 3.5% to benefit from a reduced rate of duty. This would provide a great boost for community pubs and responsible drinking.'

Lower Strength Taste Test

CAMRA conducted a taste test to find out whether beer experts could differentiate between a low and mid strength real ale. In a tasting consisting of real ales from 2% to 3.5% ABV, even a panel of experienced drinkers did not manage to correctly differentiate the products.

As part of its continued campaigning, CAMRA is calling on the Government to extend the announced duty relief rate up to 3.5% ABV.

2011-09-29
PLAYING GAMES.
New research shows 49% of adults aged between 18-25 years old suggest the introduction of traditional pub games* would encourage them to use more pubs.

New research issued by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale suggests the return of traditional pub games like Shove Ha'penny, Bar Billiards, Skittles and Darts would encourage more young adults to visit pubs at a time when 25 pubs across Britain are closing every week. The revival of Traditional Pub Games campaign has been supported by World Darts Champions Adrian Lewis and Keith Deller.

The independently commissioned research highlighted that the numbers of regular pub-going (visiting pubs once a week or more) young adults aged 18-24 years old has been on the decline over the last 5 years, seeing figures drop from 36% in 2006 to 25% in 2011.

In recent years many pubs have been dominated by Gaming Machines that customers have to pay for, leaving consumers with less disposable income to spend at the bar. But new research shows young adults are demanding the return of traditional pub games which would result in more 18-24 years olds using pubs.

49% of adults aged 18-24 who had heard of a traditional pub game* suggested they would 'Very likely' or 'Quite likely' visit pubs more often if free traditional pub games were made available.

Colin Valentine, CAMRA National Chairman, said:

'Pubs have had it tough in recent years with high increases in beer tax, below cost pricing in supermarkets, introduction of the smoking ban, and of course Britain's economic problems all playing a part in a disturbing 25 pubs closing every week.

'Our new research shows there is a worrying trend in younger adults visiting pubs less often. The pub industry needs to be working together on a plan to attract these groups back into pubs. Drinking in pubs gets young adults off the streets, and providing safe environments for people to enjoy alcohol is good for society.

'The research highlighted that one fun way of attracting 18-24 year olds back into pubs could be to offer free Traditional Pub Games. These games are part of our heritage and can be enjoyed by large numbers of people at no cost. This means more money can be spent at the bar which helps pubs and breweries.

'Of course pubs get a cut from Gaming Machines, but I am sure more profits can be made through a variety of food and drink.'

Current World Darts Champion Adrian Lewis and legendary 1983 winner Keith Deller have thrown their support behind this campaign.

Adrian Lewis said:

'I am 100% behind CAMRA's campaign to bring back great traditional games in to the pub like my sport darts. I started off playing darts with my family in my local pub in Stoke on Trent and through this met a lot of friends playing in the pub team. This has helped me fulfil my dream to become World Champion. I urge everyone to get behind CAMRA's campaign to help keep our traditional games alive in the Great British pub.'

Keith Deller commented:

'I have been a Professional darts player for 30 years. When I started playing darts there was a dartboard in every pub. The great thing about pub games is it gives people who are on their own the chance to get out and make new friends in pubs. We should all get behind CAMRA on this campaign and support what is great about being British and keep the pubs alive.'

John Cryne who usually runs the Festival Games stand at the GBBF, said:

'Traditional Pub Games are very popular at the Great British Beer Festival. They look simple to play but are challenging and very addictive once you get started. We would encourage everyone who visits the festival to have a go and if they enjoy them return to their local pub and encourage the licensee to try them out on the local customers. If people are not sure where to start, they can contact CAMRA and we can offer advice.'

*For the purposes of this research, Traditional Pub Games included Darts, Skittles, Bar Billiards, Pool, Shove Ha'penny, Bar Skittles, Shut the Box and Roll the Barrel

2011-09-19
LAGER, LAGER, BURNING BRIGHT.
Scientists have identified a yeast that led to the discovery of lager. The discovery is described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The researchers isolated the new species in the frozen forests of Patagonia in South America. Their discovery suggests that this yeast crossed the Atlantic hundreds of years ago and combined with one traditionally used in Europe to make ale.

The workhorse of brewing, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is used worldwide to ferment fruit and grains to make wine, cider and ale.

Lager-brewing, which is fermented more slowly and at lower temperatures than ale, is presumed to be a later invention, and was likely stumbled upon when Bavarian monks moved their beer barrels into caves to store it. In those caves, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which prefers to grow just above room temperature, is presumed to have been out competed in the fermenting beer by a species that thrived at cooler climes.

The modern-day lager-brewing yeast, Saccharomyces pastorianus, which is a fully domesticated species, is probably a hybrid of this cool-loving strain and the ale-brewing species, and survives because brewers keep back a little of the lager each time to seed the next batch with the same yeast.

"The hybrid almost definitely formed accidentally and people adopted it because the beer came out differently," said evolutionary biologist Chris Hittinger from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, US, who was one of the team behind the discovery.

But researchers have long wondered where the original cool-loving yeast species came from. That is until Dr Hittinger and his colleagues isolated it from a beech tree in the forests of Patagonia this year.

These forests, where daily lows average around -2C, are the perfect cradle for modern-day lager-brewing yeast. The species has been designated Saccharomyces eubayanus.

"I personally prefer lagers to ales, and I am very grateful that these two distant cousins met up in a Bavarian cellar hundreds of years ago," Dr Hittinger told BBC News.

Knowing the ancestral strain to the modern day lager-brewing yeast will help scientists pinpoint the effects of domestication in the genome of brewing yeasts.

And there is also the possibility that there are other undiscovered species of yeast in those Patagonia forests that could become the next best brew.

2011-08-30
LONDON HO!
The Campaign for Real Ale is delighted to report that London's historic brewing scene has been revived with findings showing the number of commercial breweries operating in the capital has doubled since the end of 2006.

New findings come at a time when CAMRA has released a comprehensive guide to the capital's licensed outlets and brewers entitled London's Best Beer, Pubs & Bars, by London beer writer Des de Moor. To celebrate this launch, CAMRA polled Londoners on where they thought was the best area for quality pubs, with the South East of the city coming out on top.

While 150 years ago London was the brewing capital of the world - with the city's brewers pioneering industrial brewing, inventing the first two global beer styles and sending their products to every inhabited continent on the planet - the city was anything but a brewing superpower in October 2006 when Young's (then of Battersea) merged with Wells of Bedford, leaving a record low 7 commercial breweries, with only two of any significant size.

Fast forward 5 years to the present day, and with 14 commercial breweries and at least 5 breweries reported to be in development, London is once again awash with exciting new local brews filling the capital's 6,000 pubs. Such growth comes at a time when there are now over 800 brewers operating in total across the UK.

Des de Moor, London resident and author of London's Best Beer, Pubs and Bars, said:

"Although London's groundswell of exciting new brewers may not yet reach the production levels of the post-Victorian era when in 1905 the capital's brewers produced almost a billion pints, the city's brewing industry is once again revered for its innovation and craft.

For too long many Londoners haven't had a brewery in their locality, and yet in the space of 5 years, each area of the great city now has a brewer to call its own.

With the growth of brewing in the capital, a new breed of discerning, savvy consumers have emerged, with beer drinkers who appreciate quality, provenance, craftsmanship, natural ingredients, flavour and character above the bland, processed conformity of international brands."

Some of the new success stories of London's brewing scene include small, artisanal brewers such as Kernel, based under a busy railway arch in Bermondsey. After a first commercial brew in late 2009, the producer has gone from strength to strength, now looking to produce over 14 different beers and 950hl (167,169 pints) by the end of the year.

In contrast, the loss of Young's brewery in Wandsworth is now a distant memory after ex-City accountant Duncan Sambrook came to the area, setting up Sambrook's brewery in 2008. Today, 2 core beers and 2 seasonals make up the Sambrook's range, with 250 pubs supplied and 8000hl (1,407,744 pints) produced each year.

Duncan Sambrook, co-owner of Sambrook's, and one of the founding members of the London Brewers Alliance (LBA), a body comprising brewers in the capital, said:

"It was at the Great British Beer Festival at Earls Court back in 2006 myself and friends hatched a plan to bring brewing back to the centre of London, and when we first started up, there were more outlets crying out for quality local beer than we originally thought. In fact, the London pub market's so big it has the potential to support another boom in the next 5 years, so long as London's beers retain a high quality and continue to push the boundaries."

2011-08-05
CAMRA NATIONAL PUB DESIGN AWARDS
CAMRA National Pub Design Awards - in association with English Heritage and the Victorian Society - opens for 2011

Applicants have until Friday September 30th to enter!
Download application form for the 2011 Awards

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today re-opened its prestigious Pub Design Awards competition for 2011 in a bid to commend the pioneering design work of the pub industry. The work must have been completed during the year 2010 to be eligible for the 2011 Award.

The Pub Design Awards are held in association with English Heritage and the Victorian Society.

The aim of CAMRA's Pub Design Awards scheme is to encourage high standards of architectural design in the refurbishment and conservation of existing public houses and in the construction of the new. With particular relevance to the present day, the aim of the Pub Design Awards is to stimulate interest and awareness in the many diverse factors that contribute to the unique character of the British pub as an institution.

With the 2010 competition results announced last month, CAMRA is now looking forward to receiving more strong entries in this year's Awards.

The 2011 Awards will be judged by the regular panel of architects, authors, historians and heritage experts. The Awards welcome entrants from anywhere in the British Isles, with the competition consisting of the following four categories:

1) New Build Pub
This category is for entirely new built pubs. The judges look for a number of details when judging the worth of any new establishment. The pub might reflect pubs of the past but without becoming a mere pastiche of Edwardian, Victorian or even Georgian artifacts. Or it could be completely modern, using materials of the 20th or 21st century.

2) Conversion to Pub Use
This is where an existing building is converted to pub use. Pubs are judged on the taste and restraint used on both the outside and inside of the pub.

3) Refurbished pub
Refurbishment can range from a complete gutting to replace what was crass and in bad taste with something far better to an enhancement of what was originally there. Refurbishment should suit the individual pub and not be an excuse to use uniform furnishings to brand the pub with brewery or pub company's image.

4) CAMRA / English Heritage Conservation award
This award, sponsored by English Heritage, is usually given for work on a pub which conserves what is good in the pub, makes good some of the crass refurbishment efforts of the past and ensures that the fabric of the place will survive for further generations of pub goers and drinkers to enjoy.

If you own, design, work, live, or merely like the look of your local pub, please do not hesitate to offer recommendations for the 2011 Awards. Application forms can be downloaded from the CAMRA website at www.camra.org.uk/pdaentryform, with entries submitted by email to jon.howard@camra.org.uk or posted to:

Jon Howard
CAMRA Pub Design Awards
Campaign for Real Ale Ltd
230 Hatfield Road
St Albans
Herts
AL1 4LW

The closing date for all entries will be Friday September 30th 2011, with presentation ceremonies for all award winners to be confirmed at a later date.

2011-07-26
TAXING ALE.
Beer sales at both pubs and supermarkets have fallen sharply in recent months due to higher taxes, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

Sales fell 10% in the three months to June against a year ago, as higher beer tax and VAT offset the royal wedding and warm weather, the group said. It said taxes had added 10 pence to the price of a pint since last summer. In addition this meant beer duty had risen by 35% in the past three years.

"Beer sales are a barometer of Britain's economic confidence," said the BBPA's chief executive Brigid Simmonds. "With last year's sales figures benefiting from the World Cup effect, which has historically boosted sales, sustaining volumes was always [going to be] a challenge."

"Beer tax rises are now hitting our brewers and undermining recovery."

2011-07-12
DIY.
What do you do if your local gets shut down? Open your own in any building you can find it seems.

Residents of Shepreth did just that by turning a phone box into a pub called the Dog and Bone, if only for one day.

A red telephone box in a Cambridgeshire village took on a temporary new lease of life at the weekend when it opened as a pub called the Dog and Bone. Spurred on by the closure of The Plough in Shepreth, inspired villagers turned a redundant phone box into an alehouse for a fete. It came complete with a triangular-shaped bar for staff to stand inside and pull pints while drinkers queued on the pavement.

A campaign group has been set up to get The Plough reopened. The villagers hope that there will be imagination from the owners of the Plough to allow it to be sold as a going concern as a pub, rather than a private residence.

2011-06-17
WANDERING BREWERY
Tetley's brewery has finally closed after more than 200 years as a landmark on the southern approaches of Leeds. The closure of the brewery that has been on the same site since 1822 means the loss of 170 jobs. Although various campaigns criticised the closure, announced in 2008, they have had no impact on the decision.

Local beer writer Barrie Pepper said: "I'm shattered. It's been an integral part of the city playing its part in civic life in so many ways."

Parent company Carlsberg announced the closure in in 2008. It claimed the beer market faced the "perfect storm of falling consumption, increasing costs and rising tax".

At the time of World War I there were about 20 breweries in Leeds. The biggest of the city's breweries was Tetley's and its position was confirmed when it took over Melbourne Brewery in 1960. Mr Pepper said that when he helped form a branch of Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) in Leeds, during 1973-4, half of the city's 600 pubs were then owned by Tetley's.

During the 1980s Tetley's was at the forefront of the real ale revolution as sale of cask ales increased. Between 1970 and 1980 the number of its pubs selling real ale rose from about 50 to almost all of its 300-plus venues.

A familiar sight around the city, even for non-drinkers, was Tetley's beer delivered by dray horse. But that era ended when the team of shire horses was retired in 2001.

The Tetley family's links with the beer industry go back to the 1740s when William Tetley was described as a maltster in Armley. His son William then expanded the business, which in turn was passed to his son Joshua. Then in 1822, Joshua Tetley leased a brewery in Salem Place, Hunslet. It is this original site, much expanded over the years as the size of the brewery outgrew the housing around it, that is to close.

Joshua died in 1859, leaving the business to his son Francis William, who took on a partner, Charles Ryder. By 1864 Joshua Tetley and Son were starting an ambitious building scheme. in 1890 the firm opened its first public house close to the brewery, the Duke William. In 1897 Tetley's became a public limited company.

Throughout the 20th Century the company underwent various mergers and acquisitions until Tetley's employed thousands of workers in Leeds and owned about 1,000 pubs. At its peak Tetley's was Britain's largest cask ale brewery. Yet, Tetley was taken over by Allied breweries in 1961, creating the world's biggest brewing conglomerate at the time. Finally the brewery was bought by Carlsberg in the 1990s.

Now beer will be brewed at several sites around the UK including the Marston's plant in Wolverhampton.

2011-06-16
TRUE BREW
It seems beer really is the brew (no pun intended) of choice. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that the occupants of south eastern France were brewing beer during the Iron Age, some 2,500 years ago.

A paper in Human Ecology outlines the discovery of barley grains that had been sprouted in a process known as malting; an oven found nearby may have been used to regulate the process.

Beer brewing's heritage stretches back to the Bronze Age in China and the Middle East, but this is the earliest sign of the practice in France, where wine-making had already taken hold.

The recent find was in Roquepertuse, close to modern Aix-en-Provence, and was excavated in the 1990s.

Archaeologist Laurent Bouby from France's National Centre for Scientific Research has been studying "archaeobotany" - preserved plant remains - in the region around Roquepertuse for more than a decade.

Dr Bouby and his colleagues have now analysed the "macrobotanical" remains found at three sites during those digs: a paved floor near an oven and hearth of a home dated to the 5th Century BC, and a ceramic vessel and a pit that were near storage containers.

Ninety percent of the barley grains that were recovered from these locations had been induced to sprout. The malted grains and the arrangement of the finds led the team to surmise a "home-brew" scenario, which they note requires no specialised equipment.

"All that is needed is an amount of grain, some water, containers (commonly pottery vessels) in which to soak the grain, a flat paved area - possibly the floor - to spread out and turn the grain during germination, an oven to dry it in order to stop germination, domestic grindstones to grind the malted grain, hearths and again containers for fermentation and storage," they wrote.

"Evidence for all of these sorts of equipment is reported from the Roquepertuse dwelling."

Prior studies suggest that a variant of the barley plant known as six-row barley was the primary cultivated plant in the region at the time; the authors of the study now suggest that beer production may have been one of the principal reasons for this.

2011-05-31
HAPPY BIRTHDAY
CAMRA to hold National Awards ceremony at home of British brewing National Brewery Centre, Burton to host Awards in CAMRA's 40th year

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is today delighted to announce it will be holding its 40th birthday Awards Lunch and Champion Beer of Britain Presentations at the recently re-opened National Brewery Centre in Burton on Saturday October 22nd. The event is to be held at the Centre in a bid to show continued support to the home of British brewing.

The Awards Lunch and Champion Beer of Britain Presentations are held to officially congratulate winners of CAMRA national competitions during the current calendar year, and as the organisation celebrates its 40th birthday, CAMRA's organising committee felt there was no better home than Burton to stage this year's ceremony.

Keith Spencer, CAMRA National Director and event organiser, said:

'We are proud and excited to be bringing the event to the home of British brewing at a time when our organisation is toasting 40 years of campaigning for quality and choice in the beer market. The National Brewery Centre is packed with history and we look forward to re-calling some of the crowning moments in British brewing during our afternoon at the venue.'

Laura Bradshaw, National Brewing Centre Catering and Events Manager, said:

'It is a great honour for both the National Brewery Centre and the town of Burton upon Trent to be hosting CAMRA's Awards Lunch which is particularly significant as it is their 40th anniversary year. I am really pleased that our successful relationship with Burton and Derbyshire CAMRA has progressed to a national level. The National Brewery Centre and Burton upon Trent represent the "home of brewing" and this is an ideal location for such prestigious events.'

Beer drinkers will have to wait until Tuesday August 2nd at the Great British Beer Festival, Earls Court, to see who will walk away with this year's Champion Beer of Britain accolade. Last year, Castle Rock brewery of Nottingham won the overall title for their Harvest Pale, described by one judge as a 'wonderfully refreshing and complex beer'.

Nik Antona, CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain Director and Burton resident, said:

'I look forward to officially presenting CAMRA's national award winners in October. As a Burton resident it's great to see the town continuing to receive the recognition it deserves as an iconic place in British history, and by holding these prestigious Awards here during CAMRA's 40th year, I hope more of our 123,000 members are encouraged to visit this fantastic venue.'

2011-05-19
GO WILD FOR MILD.
New research released on the eve of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale's National Mild Month has revealed UK beer drinkers are demanding the return of one of the nation's most iconic beer styles.

In the lead up to CAMRA's National Mild Month campaign throughout May, CAMRA conducted a survey to 400 beer drinkers and has discovered almost half (47%) of drinkers have seen their local brewer produce a Mild over the past 12 months. This upturn in recognition for the beer style comes at a time when there are almost 800 real ale breweries in operation around the UK, producing over 3,000 different styles of beer. In terms of Milds, there are now in excess of 200 on the beer market, more than twice as many available to the drinker than in 1999.

In a separate poll, beer drinkers surveyed noted that apart from India Pale Ales, a popular beer style in today's market, Mild beers are what they'd most like to see more of down their local pub. At present, just over one third (35.4%) of drinkers have noticed a Mild served at their local over the past month.

Tony Jerome, CAMRA Head of Marketing, said:

"Such positive findings really reinforce the notion that Mild beers have fallen back in favour with today's discerning consumers. While CAMRA has been campaigning for Mild beers for years as an endangered beer style, it appears the general upsurge in the number of people having tried real ale* has given the Mild a welcome shot in the arm.

"Misconceptions surrounding Mild drinkers may continue - many still perceive it to be an old man's drink - but our research clearly points towards the fact that if drinkers new to the beer style are given the opportunity to try before they buy, and are given simple information at point of sale, these misconceptions are easily broken down. While some beer drinkers feel that names such as Dark, Dark Light, or Sweet are more appropriate for a Mild beer in the modern day, we will be taking these suggestions on board and working with the industry to further champion this iconic beer style."

The aim of National Mild Month is to encourage local pubs to stock a Mild throughout the month of May, and to encourage trial of this traditional beer style through initiatives such as 'try before you buys', third pint sampling measures, Mild beer and food matching events, and Mild beer tasting sessions.

Meanwhile, CAMRA branches across the UK have organised a whole host of campaigning activities to champion the Mild beer style. In areas such as Nottingham, the local CAMRA branch have devised a whole Mild pub passport scheme to encourage drinkers to try the beer style in participating pubs around the city. CAMRA branches in the Greater Manchester area have also worked together to produce a Mild trail for beer drinkers to choose from 94 pubs in their local area.

2011-05-05
STALE BEER.
Scientists have identified the chemicals that lead to the bitter aftertaste of stale bottled beer. Chemicals present in beer's hops break down over time, forming other compounds that result in the unpleasant taste.

Researchers reporting in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry say the trick to avoiding the taste is to avoid that breakdown. That can be done by adjusting beers' acidity when it is produced, and by always keeping it cool.

The idea that the naturally-present, slightly bitter-tasting compounds are the source of the more bitter, more long-lasting flavours of "aged" beer is not new. But the exact catalogue of compounds that are responsible and how they develop over time has remained a mystery until now.

Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have been looking into the particulars of beer chemistry for a number of years. For the recent study, they stored a number of commercially available, pilsner-style beers for as much as 10 years in order to compare the chemistry of aged beers with that of freshly-obtained samples.

The primary offenders are what are known as trans-iso-alpha acids, which over time degrade into a number of chemicals that lead to bad taste - and it is these that the TUM researchers hope to address.

Recent studies have shown that the level of acidity, or pH, has a strong effect on the degradation of trans-iso-alpha acids, but the new study indicated that pH in ageing beer was incredibly stable - so the researchers asked a commercial brewer to make batches of beer with slightly varying pH levels.

Researchers found that by making beer that was incrementally less acidic, the trans-iso-alpha acid degradation process could be much reduced. However, the reactions that transform the acids into the ingredients of a stale-tasting beer are accelerated at higher temperatures, so the simplest route to keeping beer tasting fresh is to keep it cool.

2011-04-19
GUIDE TO BEER.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is delighted to announce that both Cask Marque and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) have pledged their support to its best-selling title, the Good Beer Guide, by sponsoring the forthcoming 2012 edition, due for release in September.

CAMRA's Good Beer Guide is now in its 39th edition and remains a wholly independent guide to the best pubs in Great Britain, as well as the authoritative lowdown on every brewery currently operational across the nation. Pub entries for the Good Beer Guide are chosen by CAMRA's 120,000-strong membership on the quality of real ale served at the bar.

The 2012 edition represents the 9th time industry watchdog Cask Marque has backed the Guide, with the body sponsoring the pubs section. Meanwhile, the forthcoming edition will be SIBA's first sponsorship of the CAMRA title, and they will be putting their name to the breweries section. SIBA's backing of CAMRA's best selling Guide comes at a time when 54% of drinkers have now tried Britain's National Drink, and Nick Stafford, SIBA Commercial and Finance Director, said:

'SIBA represents most local brewers in the UK and they are proving to be a dynamic part of cask ale growth. Real ale consumers have always appreciated local artisans in brewing and SIBA wishes to thank them for their support through sponsorship of this iconic publication.'

Paul Nunny, Cask Marque Director, also expressed his commitment to the Guide. He said:

'We are pleased once again to sponsor the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. This is our 9th year of our involvement and it helps us in delivering a beer quality message to all Cask Ale drinkers.'

The Good Beer Guide 2012 is due for release in September, and as part of its role to encourage more consumers to try real ale, is set to increase promotion of the Cyclops tasting scheme, an industry accredited initiative which has seen over 200 breweries sign up since its introduction in 2006.

Roger Protz, CAMRA Good Beer Guide editor, said:

'The Guide is all about attracting people old and new to try the best British beer inside the best 4,500 pubs in the land. Thanks to the support of two of the industry's foremost campaigners for quality in the beer and pub industry, we are able to continue this mission and we look forward to seeing what the readers think of our new edition of the Guide in September.'

2011-03-26
TAXING TIMES.
CAMRA has today hit out at the Government's decision to impose a damaging 7.2% increase in beer duty - taking the average duty and VAT on a pub pint to over 1 for the first time. This is likely to increase the price of a pint of beer in the pub by a massive 10p, which will drive consumers away from pubs and lead them to drink at home or on the streets.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:

'It is incredible to consider that Britain's beer drinkers are forced to endure the second highest rate of beer tax in Europe, particularly when the Prime Minister promised a "pub friendly Government" with the pub at the heart of the Big Society. By penalising the vast majority of responsible pub goers, the Government is not getting to the root of the problem, which remains cheap alcohol sold in an irresponsible manner in the off trade.'

The Chancellor also announced plans to halve taxation on beers at or below 2.8% ABV, but this will be coupled with a corresponding further tax increase of 25% on beers at 7.5% ABV and above. CAMRA will be calling on the Government to work with the EU and the wider industry to increase the 2.8% threshold for beers eligible for the lower duty rate to 3.5% abv.

This week CAMRA launched a new photofilm highlighting the plight of British pubs. The pressures on pubs are only going to increase after this new duty rise - threatening the jobs, tax revenue and social benefits of beer.

2011-03-19
DEMISE.
A new exhibition is showing at a library in Blackburn, documenting the demise of over half of the pubs in the town.

Blackburn Gone

2011-03-07
SHARP PRACTICE
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has voiced serious concerns over the future of Sharps Brewery and real ales following the acquisition of the Cornish brewer by Molson Coors. The global beer giant has gobbled up Cornwall's leading microbrewery in a 20m deal to secure what M-C's Chief Executive Mark Hunter calls the "Doom Bar Brand".

CAMRA's Chief Executive, Mike Benner, said "Once again we are seeing the acquisitive actions of a global brewer buying local brewers to secure what they perceive as marketable real ale brands for short term profit. What future will there be for Sharp's other beer brands such as Cornish Coaster and Sharp's Own? No other Sharp's beer was mentioned in the release announcing the deal. We're also concerned what the deal might mean for the long term future of the brewery in Cornwall?"

"Whilst we welcome the fact that one of the UK's brewers realises that there is a future for real ale and that they have been remiss in abandoning their own cask ale heritage, we regret that they have decided to take this route and buy Sharp's Brewery."

CAMRA will be seeking assurances from Molson Coors management about the future of not only the Sharp's Brewery in Cornwall but also all the Sharp's real ale brands.

Will Molson Coors have the expertise to market the real ale brands when their history has been in selling global keg and bottled lager beers. Will people continue to regard Sharp's beer as being truly Cornish?

As for the regular drinkers of Sharp's Doom Bar, Own and Cornish Coaster they can only hope that these Emmets from Burton upon Trent will treat their Cornish beers with respect.

2011-02-16
OUT OF HAND.
Despite new evidence that more people are being treated in hospital for excessive drinking, the overall trend is that we are drinking less as a nation. Why?

It's difficult to open a newspaper without reading about the alcohol problems that exist in the UK. Recent headlines include "Binge drinking costs NHS billions", "Hospitals reel as drink cases soar" and "Alcohol abuse to cost NHS an extra billion." And this week, figures from Alcohol Concern suggest the number of people being treated in hospital for alcohol misuse has more than doubled in eight years.

But behind these stories is an unexpected truth - Britons have been drinking less and less every year since 2002. Men and women of all ages are slowly curbing their excesses and drinking in moderation, according to the annual survey from the Office of National Statistics, which covers England, Scotland and Wales. It suggests that heavy drinking is falling, abstinence is rising, and young people are leading the drive towards healthier drinking.

The decrease among some groups even pre-dates 2002, with men aged 16-24 drinking 26 units a week on average in 1999 and just 15 units a week in 2009, according to the ONS figures.

"There is a received wisdom that we must be drinking more," says Neil Williams of the British Beer and Pubs Association (BBPA). Its own figures, which are based on sales and not self-reporting, suggest alcohol sales peaked in 2004 and have fallen by 13% since then.

"In reality, we see a fairly deep-rooted decline in alcohol consumption which dates back to 2004. That's not something you see acknowledged in the media."

It's frustrating that the true story is not getting out there, says David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, an association of drinks producers in the UK.

"With newspapers, the headline is always the same: 'Shock rise in binge drinking'. But you look at the figures, and you see alcohol sales are declining.

"It's a myth that we need to make alcohol more expensive. These trends are being reversed on their own."

Historically, sales of booze rose and fell with the economy. Recessions in the early 80s and 90s were coupled with a slump in drinking. And the current downturn is having a similar effect. From 2008-2009, alcohol consumption in the UK fell by 6%.

But that decline started long before the credit crunch kicked in - 2004 according to the BBPA and 2002 by the ONS figures. So what happened?

"To a certain extent it's a mystery," says Mr Poley. "There may be multiple reasons. But around that time, the UK did see the launch of some major alcohol health warning campaigns."

In 2004 the Drinkaware logo started appearing on beer advertisements. The labelling of drinks bottles improved to make it clear how many units of alcohol they contain. And the health dangers of heavy drinking were increasingly highlighted by the media.

References to "binge drinking" shot up in 2004, according to Dr James Nicholls of Bath Spa University, who researches the social history of alcohol.

"The media picked up on it around the time that the 2003 Licensing Act was being introduced - when all the talk was of '24 hour drinking'. And that's when the whole 'Binge Britain' thing kicked off," he says.

The Daily Mail ran a memorable campaign, featuring images of young women slumped on pavements and park benches. News stories were peppered with health warnings from groups like Alcohol Concern, Drinkaware and the Royal College of Physicians.

"They were very successful at making the health impacts of alcohol a news story," says Mr Nicholls.

In reality, 24-hour drinking never took off. The average pub only opened 24 minutes longer after 11pm last orders was abolished, says Nicholls. But it didn't matter - the headlines had already been written. A new tone had been set for alcohol reporting. The message was that Britain was out of control.

The negative publicity not only led people to moderate their behaviour, it also created a new kind of social stigma around being drunk. The ONS survey notes that people may now be "less inclined to admit to how much they have been drinking".

Boozing was no longer such a badge of honour. And attitudes in the workplace began to change too, says Graham Page, an alcohol industry analyst.

"These days most employers are anti-drink. The six o'clock swill has gone in most places, apart from London," he says.

Meanwhile, consumer forces were also at work to change our drinking habits throughout the last decade. Pubs were closing down, duty on beer was rising, and sales of cheap supermarket wine were rocketing.

The caricature of a "drinker" has slowly morphed - from lager louts downing pints to girls on the sofa, sipping Pinot Grigio.

It's hard to quantify how each of these micro-trends in pricing has influenced overall alcohol consumption, says Mr Page, but their net effect is that the price of a drink as a percentage of spending money is cheaper than ever before.

So alcohol is cheaper, but we are drinking less of it - a highly improbable cocktail. But a look at the longer term picture shows that drinking has been rising steadily since 1947, and levels are still some way above those in the early 1990s. So is the latest fall a victory for drink awareness campaigning?

Such celebrations would be premature, says Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern.

"There are still 10 million people drinking above the government's recommended level. And 1.6 million dependent drinkers. These are the frequent flyers into hospital, and they are not changing their drinking habits," he says. "It is very likely that alcohol consumption will rise again once the economy picks up. So government alcohol policy should ensure alcohol becomes less affordable permanently, not just in an economic downturn."

(C) Morgan

2011-02-08
OLD BEER
Researchers are taking samples of the world's oldest beer in a bid to find out how to brew it again.

A recently discovered shipwreck from 1800 to 1830 in the Baltic Sea had five bottles of beer. As it was in the Baltic Sea it was preserved in the cold depths. They were still drinkable too. The beer has already been sampled by professional beer tasters who said:

"it taste[d] very old, which is no surprise, with some burnt notes. But it was quite acidic - which could mean there's been some fermenting going on in the bottle and with time it's become acid."

"We're going to try to see if we can find any living yeast or other microbial cells, because that would be very interesting with respect to reproducing the beer," Dr Wilhelmson explained.

"So far we have seen under microscopes that there are yeast and bacterial cells, but we don't know if they're dead or alive yet. If we can't find living microbes, we will look at the DNA and try to compare it to brewing yeasts that we know today, to see how similar or different the yeasts are."

2011-01-29
POCKET MONEY
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale has expressed regret at the Government's failure to ban the sale of alcohol below cost. The Government are instead banning the sale of alcohol at below excise duty and VAT which is just 47p a pint. This will have virtually no impact on the rock-bottom prices of beer in supermarkets and will do nothing to alleviate the pressure on pubs where the price of a pint is rapidly approaching 3.

CAMRA has long been campaigning for a ban on below cost sales of alcohol, which was a clear manifesto commitment of both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. However, for any ban to have a meaningful impact it is vital that the cost of alcohol production is factored in, which for beer will produce a floor price of around 40p a unit - double what is being proposed.

Mike Benner, CAMRA's Chief Executive said:

"Today's decision means pubs will continue to close as they are undercut by supermarkets selling canned beers at pocket money prices. A ban on selling beer at below duty plus VAT will have a negligible impact as supermarkets sell only a tiny proportion of beer at below these levels."

"CAMRA believes a floor price of around 40 pence a unit would be required to prevent supermarkets selling alcohol at a loss. The Government's decision to set a floor price of only 21 pence a unit is a betrayal of their previous promise to ban the sale of alcohol at below cost and means supermarkets will continue to be able to sell alcohol as a loss leader."

"It is a blow to pub goers that with pub prices approaching 3 a pint the Government have decided to give the green light to the supermarkets to charge as little as 47 pence a pint."

"The Government appear all too ready to impose higher costs and regulations on well-run community pubs but are prepared to turn a blind eye to the irresponsible attitude towards alcohol expressed by the supermarkets."

2011-01-05
THREE POUND PINT
Something for all to savour in these austere times.

The VAT hike will lead to the typical cost of a pint of beer in a pub breaking through the 3 barrier for the first time, a trade body has warned.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said the increase in VAT to 20% would add a further 6p to the cost of a pint of beer, on top of the 26% rise in Beer Tax seen during the past two years.

It warned that the "double whammy" of the increase to duty and VAT was placing "shackles" on the pub and hospitality sector at a time when it could be creating jobs, and it urged the Government to abandon plans for further Beer Tax increases.

The group said the tax increase would hit pubs, in which beer is the key seller, more than other retailers as many are small, family-run businesses which are less able to absorb the cost than big supermarkets.

Research carried out for the group by Oxford Economics suggests that the VAT hike will lead to the loss of around 8,800 jobs related to the sale of beer.

The BBPA also expressed concern about the Government's plans to increase beer duty above inflation in the Budget in March, through its tax escalator.

It said its research suggests that rising taxes would actually lead to falling revenues and a further 10,000 job losses in the sector as beer sales would fall sharply.

Instead it would like the Government to lower the rate of VAT charged in the hospitality trade, claiming there is growing evidence that similar moves across Europe are helping to create jobs and boost tax revenues.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: "The VAT rise is another tax blow for the industry. The Treasury is piling tax on top of tax.

"The 26% rise in beer duty in the past two years will now have an even higher VAT rate charged on top of it. The Treasury needs to think again when it comes to plans for further Beer Tax hikes in March. The Government has recognised that tax increases harm pubs, and wants policies that don't damage the sector. Now is the time to translate this wish into action, with policies that keep pubs open, and create jobs and wealth in the UK economy."

2010-12-20
TAX CUT.
CAMRA has welcomed the Government's decision to introduce a reduced rate of excise duty for beers at or below 2.8% abv and will be pushing for a reduction of at least 50%. This decision follows a campaign launched by CAMRA in 2009 at the Great British Beer Festival when research was published showing that 55% of all drinkers support a lower strength beer option in pubs.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive said:

"News that tax will be increased on beers above 7.5% abv is disappointing. However we are pleased that this widely expected increase will be counterbalanced by a tax cut on low strength beers. Reduced tax on low strength beers is good news for pub goers at a time when 29 pubs are closing every week. This move will incentivise brewers to invest in producing new low strength real ales packed full of flavour.

"Current EU rules mean that the UK Government can only reduce duty on low strength beers at or below 2.8% abv. These rules are under review and, at a meeting with the European Commission tomorrow, CAMRA will push for the 2.8% abv cap to be increased, potentially up to 3.5% abv."

2010-12-01
CIDER WITH ROSIE.
Devonshire Licensee Wins CAMRA's National Cider Campaigning Award
Richard Knibbs, licensee of Ye Olde Cider Bar, Newton Abbot wins CAMRA's national Pomona Award for his dedication to real cider and perry over the last 40 years

CAMRA's annual Pomona Award is named after the Roman Goddess of apples and is presented to the person, place or thing that has done the most to promote real cider or perry in the last 12 months or for their ongoing outstanding work in this field.

CAMRA received many entries for the award from CAMRA members and members of the public but it was Richard Knibbs, licensee of Ye Olde Cider Bar, who won the committee's approval to receive this prestigious accolade.

Andrea Briers, CAMRA's Cider & Perry Campaigning Chair said, "Richard Knibbs thoroughly deserves CAMRA's Pomona Award this year. He has provided the community of Newton Abbot with an outstanding range of quality real cider and perry for the last 40 years in a bar that has changed very little in the last 100 years. Scrubbed tables and settles and not a cushion in sight!"

Cider houses have dwindled over the centuries. They are not pubs and do not sell any beer or any spirits and at the last count there were only three* surviving cider houses in England. Ye Olde Cider Bar is one of these extremely rare and special places.

Pomona Award winner Richard Knibbs said, "I am absolutely delighted to win this award for my passion and dedication towards real cider over the last 40 years. I am also very pleased that CAMRA supports this wonderful, traditional drink. I am a person who does not like change and this is why the Cider Bar has been kept the same over the years with real cider being the core product sold."

2010-11-11
UNDER PRESSURE.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is continuing its campaign to secure reform of the beer tie despite the announcement by the OFT, Office of Fair Trading, that it will take no action. This is despite considerable evidence providing reasonable grounds to suspect anti-competitive behaviour by the large pub companies.

The inaction of the OFT, whose responsibility is to ensure markets work well for consumers, is all the more remarkable given that the Commons Business Select Committee and the Government recognise that a competition problem exists and are working to find a fair solution.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:

"CAMRA's initial reaction to the OFT's decision is that it is based on a blinkered and selective consideration of the evidence. The OFT has squandered an opportunity to support a process of industry self regulation to improve competition and benefit consumers. Today's OFT decision does nothing to change the fact that the Business Secretary, Vince Cable MP, has publicly stated that the pub companies are on probation and that they will face legislative action if they fail to reform by June 2011.

"The OFT recognises the concerns of tied pub landlords but has failed to recognise the impact of these on consumers. It is extraordinary that the OFT appears to have dismissed as irrelevant the treatment of tied pub landlords by the large pub companies. A balanced and fair relationship between tied pub landlords and the large pub companies is crucial to ensuring the pub market works well for consumers.

"The OFT's own analysis recognises that tied pub landlords on average pay around 20,000 more for their beer every year as a result of being tied and unable to purchase beer on the open market. CAMRA, unlike the OFT, recognises that higher costs imposed upon tied pub landlords will inevitably be passed onto consumers through higher prices, under investment and pub closures."

Dr. Rick Muir, author of the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) groundbreaking 'Pubs and Places' Report said:

"ippr research shows community pubs are not just places to drink, but are also places where people meet friends and neighbours and where local clubs hold meetings and events. Community pubs are the embodiment of the "big society" principle yet many risk being squeezed to death as a result of restricted competition. The OFT has failed to stand up for individual pub landlords and ultimately it will be consumers who suffer as yet more pubs close."

2010-10-24
I'M TIPSY
Experts say they have found a "tipsy" gene that explains why some people feel alcohol's effects quicker than others. The US researchers believe 10% to 20% of people have a version of the gene that may offer some protection against alcoholism. That is because people who react strongly to alcohol are less likely to become addicted, studies show.

The University of North Carolina said the study aims to help fight addiction, not pave the way for a cheap night out. Ultimately, people could be given CYP2E1-like drugs to make them more sensitive to alcohol - not to get them drunk more quickly, but to put them off drinking to inebriation, the Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research journal reported.

Lead researcher Professor Kirk Wilhelmsen said: "Obviously we are a long way off having a treatment, but the gene we have found tells us a lot about how alcohol affects the brain."

Most of the alcohol people consume is broken down in the liver, but some is metabolised in the brain by an enzyme which the CYP2E1 gene provides coded instructions for.

People who have the "tipsy" version of CYP2E1 break down alcohol more readily, which explains why they feel the effects of alcohol much quicker than others.

The researchers made their discovery by studying more than 200 pairs of students who were siblings and who had one alcohol-dependent parent but who did not have a drink problem themselves. They gave the students a mixture of grain alcohol and soda that was equivalent to about three average alcoholic drinks. At regular intervals the students were then asked whether they felt drunk, sober, sleepy or awake.

The researchers then compared the findings with gene test results from the students. This revealed that CYP2E1 on chromosome 10 appears to dictate whether a person can hold their drink better than others.

Professor Wilhelmsen says more research is now needed to see if the findings could be used to make new treatments to tackle alcohol addiction.

"Alcoholism is a very complex disease, and there are lots of complicated reasons why people drink. This may be just one of the reasons," he added.

Don Shenker, of the charity Alcohol Concern, said that, in most cases, alcohol abuse stemmed from social problems, with alcohol used as a prop.

Professor Colin Drummond, an expert in addiction at London's Institute of Psychiatry, said it was likely to be combination of genes and environment.

"It is well recognised that alcohol dependence runs in families," he said.

He said research suggests having an alcoholic parent quadruples a person's risk of developing a drinking problem.

2010-10-20
IS HAPPINESS BEING TIED UP?
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has confirmed it has found no evidence that so-called "beer ties" between pub firms and landlords are harming competition.

It had ruled in October last year that landlords being forced to buy beer from pub owners was not anti-competitive. But it reopened the investigation in February after the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) lodged an appeal. The big pub companies have always denied any wrongdoing.

The watchdog said that consumers had a wide choice between pubs and that this competition prevented the beer tie from being used to inflate pub beer prices beyond competitive levels. Pubs had not been prevented from offering a wide choice of beers to consumers, it added, saying that pub-owning firms tended to source beer from a wide range of suppliers, including smaller brewers.

"We appreciate how important local pubs are to many consumers and local communities," said Ann Pope, senior director of goods at the OFT. "Camra's super-complaint has provided a timely opportunity to examine the pub sector, as the beer tie model has attracted considerable attention recently. After carrying out detailed analysis, we have found that the sector is competitive overall and that there is no need for the OFT to take further action at the moment."

"The OFT recognises that many pub lessees are concerned about issues regarding the contractual relationship with their pub-company and we note that the pub industry is taking steps to address some of these concerns. Our focus, however, has been to assess whether the market is working well for consumers."
Beer bill

However, Camra said the OFT's decision had been "based on a blinkered and selective consideration of the evidence", adding it was considering a new appeal.

It estimated that tied pub landlords paid about 20,000 more for their beer a year which they could not buy on the open market.

"A balanced and fair relationship between tied pub landlords and the large pub companies is crucial to ensuring the pub market works well for consumers," said Mike Benner, Camra's chief executive.

Since Camra first went to the OFT in July of last year, the British Beer and Pub Association has brought in a new code of practice that sets out information that must be given to prospective pub tenants by breweries.

2010-10-20
DEATH OF THE PUB
A recent slide show from the BBC has brought into focus the beer tie problem on a local community.

Click here

2010-10-16
POWERED BY DOO DOO
Gas produced from Adnams, a Suffolk brewery's waste is being pumped into the national grid to heat about 235 homes.

The scheme at Adnams brewery in Southwold harnesses methane from malted barley to produce the biogas through a process known as anaerobic digestion. The plant will also use local food waste, including leftovers from seven nearby supermarkets.

Adnams said waste from brewing 600 pints of beer could generate enough gas for one home a day. Adnams Bio Energy, which runs the project with British Gas, said in future it hoped to produce enough renewable gas to power the brewery and run its fleet of lorries.

It added that some waste was also spread as fertiliser on farmland to grow barley for Adnams beer.

It is the first time food waste has been used to generate green gas for the grid, and comes just days after Thames Water and British Gas began to inject biogas produced from sewage into the grid.

Adnams chief executive Andy Wood said: "For a number of years now, Adnams has been investing in ways to reduce our impact on the environment. The reality of being able to convert our own brewing waste and local food waste to power Adnams' brewery and vehicles, as well as the wider community, is very exciting."

2010-10-11
HOW MUCH!?
The price of beer varies considerably across the UK, a survey indicates. What does the cost of a pint tell us about where we drink?

It is the familiar cry of the northerner cast adrift in unfamiliar London licensed premises: "How much did you just say a pint costs?"

The weather, the state of public transport and the conduct of politicians might be familiar subjects of saloon-bar gripes, but the price of beer will always be a favourite riff among drinkers who want to conclude their evening with a good moan.

To those of us who can recall - just - the days of the sub-1 pint, shelling out three times that amount for a single beverage will always cause a small part of ourselves to die a little inside. The steady march of inflation and indirect taxation means this is unlikely to change any time soon.

But a survey by the Good Pub Guide suggests that some of us can count ourselves luckier than others. The publication asked all 1,165 pubs featured in its 2011 edition how much they charged for their cheapest pint of real ale bitter. The Great Britain-wide average was 2.80, a 4% rise on 2009. But this covers broad regional disparities, with the cheapest part of the country, the West Midlands, falling well short at 2.45 below the most expensive, Surrey, at 3.08.

According to the Guide's co-editor Fiona Stapley, the wide variation in prices reflects not just the socio-economic make-up of each area but also the levels of competition, the nature of their bars and the type of beer on offer.

"In areas where you have heavy concentrations of the big chains, the prices tend to be higher," she says. "In pubs which brew their own beer, prices are on average a third lower.

"Beer is more expensive in London because they have a large concentration of people who will come out from work and go drinking. But at the same time, food in London pubs is incredibly good value."

The fact that pubs serving real ale tend to be cheaper than those which do not is likely to give connoisseurs cause for comfort.

Some central London bars charge upwards of 5 a pint, but what distinguishes these from their cheaper rivals is not so much the quality of the beer on offer as the supposedly prime location.

A pint can be obtained in the middle of the capital for less than 2, if one is prepared to visit a chain like JD Wetherspoon, in which volume and low prices are seen as more important than atmosphere.

Iain Loe, research and information manager for the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra), believes the age-old British system is at play.

"In days gone by, pubs would have the lounge bar and the public bar," he says. "The public bar would be for the working class, there would be linoleum on the floor and the beer would be 2p or 3p a pint cheaper.

"Nowadays, it's the same class divide - but in different pubs, so you're paying 4 or 5 in a London-style bar where the beer might not be any good."

It might not be enough to stop the regulars complaining. But a glance at the price list could tell you all you need to know about your local.

2010-09-27
NO SOAP OPERA
It was announced on Wednesday that the pub famous for being the Woolpack in Emmerdale is due to close due to the departure of its tenants.

The pub, which is used in the external shots of the popular ITV soap, is tied to Enterprise Inns, and reports have indicated that the current tenant Nichola McGrath is struggling due to inflated rents and high beer prices.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale said:

No doubt the tight-knit (albeit fictional) community in Emmerdale would jump at the chance to buy this icon of a pub together, but unfortunately the Government have recently scrapped plans to provide over 4 million to provide support for community owned pubs. Without financial support, communities simply cannot afford to keep their pubs afloat.

John Healey MP, Labour's former Pubs Minister said:

We've all got a favourite Woolpack, Rovers Return or Queen Vic that helps bond our communities and the closure of this pub will be sad news to local people. Earlier this year as Pubs Minister, I put in place a package of measures aimed at helping save local pubs. That support was pulled by the new government as part of its slash and burn approach to key local services.

Mr Healey, who will give the keynote address to CAMRA's Labour Party conference reception to be held with the All Parliamentary Beer Group in September, added:

CAMRA is doing great work to champion the community importance of well-run pubs and I will carry on helping them and others in the industry reinforce that case with the LibCon government.

2010-09-18
DEATH BY BEER
A new programme on BBC iplayer discusses how beer killed quite a few Manchester drinkers in 1900.

Website

Listen again only last a week or so, so if you want to hear it, do so soon.

2010-09-17
GETTING CROWDED.
Beer drinking Real ale has seen a widening of its appeal to women and younger people. This has meant the number of breweries in the UK has increased four-fold over the past 30 years, campaigners have said.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said there were now 767 breweries operating across the country. The group's new Good Beer Guide reported that 78 new breweries opened last year, a net increase of 56 after others had closed down.

Many were small-scale micro-breweries, which Camra said were responding to demands for "taste and quality". Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz said: "The real ale revolution goes on in spite of all the problems facing the brewing industry such as the often anti-competitive behaviour of the large pub companies, the heavy and continuing rise in tax on beer, grossly unfair competition from supermarkets, and the smoking ban in pubs. Yet, against all the odds, craft breweries continue to sprout like mushrooms at dawn. The main reason is a simple one - craft brewers are responding to genuine consumer demand. Beer in pubs may be expensive compared to cheap supermarkets but drinkers are prepared to pay a bit extra for beer with taste and quality."

BBC business reporter Brian Milligan says the real ale industry was once the preserve of a certain kind of male - but now women and younger people are choosing to drink the brew as well.

Together with tax breaks announced by Gordon Brown as chancellor eight years ago, this has boosted the number of micro-breweries - often these are based in little more than a shed or a pub back garden.

But with overall beer sales declining, 40 larger breweries have closed since 1997.

Camra also published its list of the top 16 pubs in Britain, which included the Dove in Bury St Edmunds and the Brewery Tap in Chester.

2010-09-14
CAMRA MICHAEL JACKSON AWARD 2010
1st- Smuttynose, Big A IPA (9.7% ABV, Portsmouth, New Hampshire)
2nd- Clipper City, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon (7.3% ABV, Baltimore, Maryland)
3rd- Lost Abbey, Older Viscosity 2009 (12.5% ABV, San Marcos, CA)

CAMRA are pleased to announce the winner of its annual American cask real ale competition, the Michael Jackson Award, is the Smuttynose brewery's Big A IPA, from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Smuttynose's Big A IPA, a 9.7% ABV India Pale Ale, is described by CAMRA's US bar team as having an 'orange and citrus fruit, with a nicely balanced body, a hint of malt and a bunch of alcohol, and perhaps a hint of honey. The beer ends nicely with a lingering hop dryness'.

Smuttynose's success means the New England brewery has now won this award three times, and remains one of the most successful brewers in the competition's history.

The Award is named after the world renowned beer writer, Michael Jackson, also known as the Beer Hunter, and author of titles such as The World Guide To Beer, who sadly passed away in 2007. In dedication to his efforts to promote good beer, the competition is judged by a panel of Great British Beer Festival volunteers, and assessed on taste, aroma and finish.

Ian Garrett, organiser of the Michael Jackson award, said:

'The competition is incredibly tight and many US brewers are keen to get their cask beers over to us. Each year we manage to attract more brewers from a wider area with the help of two of our volunteers- Ken Fisher and Mike Labbe- in the States.

'Originally we were only able to get beers from the east coast, but now west coast beers on cask are appearing which offer a great contrast in the brewing styles. American beers are still renowned in the UK for the adventurous use of hops, and have led the way in the field of experimental beer styles.'

With over 180 beers from the United States, CAMRA was pleased to showcase the biggest selection of US cask real ale probably ever seen at the Great British Beer Festival.

2010-09-07
REDUCING WAISTLINE
Switching to beer can help you lose weight and cut alcohol consumption. New research shows 34% of men and 29% of women incorrectly believe that beer has more calories than other alcoholic drinks. Swapping wine for beer for a single week saves as many calories as a half hour jog.

CAMRA and the Beer Academy, have come together to highlight to UK consumers that beer, when drunk in moderation, can help you lose weight, cut alcohol consumption, and more generally, help supplement a healthy lifestyle. New research shows that 34% of men and 29% of women incorrectly believe that beer contains more calories than other alcoholic drinks. (ICM interviewed a random sample of 2004 adults aged 18+ online between 26th-28th February 2010).

The new research released by CAMRA follows on from a groundbreaking report by the Beer Academy entitled 'Beer the Natural Choice?', and authored by Isla Whitcroft, a leading health journalist. The report is a broad, eye opening examination of the health giving properties of beer, and its composition as a natural product. In a calorie comparison of beer versus other alcoholic drinks, the report found the following contained:

Half pint of 3.8% Bitter (284ml), 85 calories, 1.1 ALCOHOLIC UNITS
Medium sized glass of 12% red wine (175ml), 119 calories, 2.1 ALCOHOLIC UNITS
Medium sized glass of 12% white wine (175ml), 131 calories, 2.1 ALCOHOLIC UNITS

Professor Charlie Bamforth, renowned technical brewing expert, praised the findings. He said:

'For years beer has been blighted by a reputation for being more fattening than other alcoholic drinks when in reality the exact opposite is true. The major source of calories in any alcoholic drink is the alcohol itself, and because beer is the drinks category with the lowest average alcohol content it is also lowest in calories. Beer also contains no fat or cholesterol and very few free sugars. So for someone looking to lose weight, swapping their glass of wine for a beer every day would not only reduce their weekly alcohol intake by seven units - but also cut out more calories than are burned off during a typical 30 minute jog!'

Speaking at the Great British Beer Festival, Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, reiterated the impact of these findings. He said:

'It is great news to see the myth of the beer belly finally laid to rest. The main message we are putting forward today is that as a low alcohol drink, beer can supplement a healthy lifestyle if consumed in a responsible manner. And as a quality product, one need only visit the Great British Beer Festival this week to see that a number of beers, whilst low in alcohol, are still packed with a fantastic amount of flavour. After all, two of the last four Champion Beer of Britain winners have been Milds, traditionally weighing in at around 3% ABV, therefore in no way does less alcohol translate into less flavour.'

2010-09-01
WHO DRINKS THE MOST?
On the opening day of the Great British Beer Festival, CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, released new research to find which areas of the nation are the top supporters of Britain's National Drink, real ale.

In a poll commissioned by the research body, TNS, CAMRA found that at a time when 54% of UK drinkers as a whole have tried real ale, and over 750 real ale breweries are now in operation, suppers in the North East of England and East Anglia are taking the lead in fostering the growth of our historic brewing industry.

The remarkable rise in interest for real ale in the North East is such that the number of drinkers having tried real ale in the area has doubled over the last 2 years! In contrast, Yorkshire, a powerhouse region for brewing, and an area with one of the largest concentration of breweries in the UK, has experienced only small growth in the rate of newcomers to Britain's National Drink.

But as CAMRA's new research today shows, drinkers across the nation are turning towards real ale at a time when there are more breweries in operation that any time since the Second World War-

Geographic region (ITV region) %of adult drinkers having tried real ale (Jun 10)
1st North East England 74%
2nd East Anglia 70%
3rd Midlands 62%
Wales and SW England 59%
North West England 53%
London 51%
Scottish Borders 48%
South and SE England 48%
Yorkshire 45%

Colin Valentine, CAMRA National Chairman, said:

'In just two years, parts of the UK where it once was rare to see a real ale handpump on a high street have now proliferated, with well-run pubs dedicated to showcasing the real ale boom to local consumers.

'Today's research really reinforces the point that drinkers are growing tired of drinking the advertising of mass produced global brands, and are turning towards quality, locally produced real ales for inspiration. It's interesting to see that in the North East, whilst brands such as Newcastle Brown Ale have been stripped of their local identity and are now brewed elsewhere, drinkers have sought out new and interesting brews from local brewers such as Mordue or Wylam, both on the outskirts of Newcastle upon Tyne.'

At the Great British Beer Festival over 500 British real ales were showcased, drinkers in the North East toasted the research revealing them as top of the suppers with some of the beers on show from the region, including-

* Hadrian & Border (of Newcastle upon Tyne), Gladiator Ale- a 3.8% ABV tawny-coloured bitter with plenty of malt in the aroma and palate leading to a strong bitter finish.

* Mordue (of North Shields), Radgie Gadgie- a 4.8% ABV easy drinking bitter with plenty of fruit and hops.

* Jarrow (of South Shields), Rivet Catcher- a 4% ABV light, smooth, satisfying gold bitter with fruity hops on the tongue and nose.

* Camerons (of Hartlepool), 6th Sense- a 6% ABV chestnut brown beer with a delicate floral aroma, finished off with a smooth malty taste.

* Allendale (of Hexham), Entrepreneur- a 4.7% ABV golden caramel coloured premium ale with a delicious fruity and floral aroma.

Colin Valentine continued:

'There may only be 20 breweries in the North East region, a figure dwarfed by somewhere like East Anglia which boasts around two and half times that number, but there are an emerging number of new drinkers switching from staple keg lagers in search of new thirst quenching alternatives. With beer names such as 'Geordie Pride' and 'Workie Ticket', real ale brewers in the region are reaching out to a new market of drinkers who previously thought that real ale wasn't for them.'

2010-08-12
NEW GUIDE LAUNCHED
CAMRA has ensured drinkers visiting or living in Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh, can explore its beautiful surrounds without missing out on its historic public houses.

Edinburgh Pub Walks, by CAMRA author Bob Steel, is a lovingly illustrated, practical pocket-sized guide to the most iconic pubs in Edinburgh and the surrounding area, taking in 25 town, country and coastal walks, from the best of the Royal Mile, to the Dunbar Coastal Trail, 25 miles from the centre of the city.

Edinburgh Pub Walks is an indispensable title for both urban explorer and discerning beer drinker alike. Dividing the guide into two manageable sections - 'Edinburgh Old and New' and 'Beyond the Fringe' - Steel's trails perfectly capture Scottish heritage, allowing the reader to experience the city using short, simple routes which take in the historic hilltop views and superb architecture of the capital. Highlighted on each route are key cultural attractions, recommended pubs, and access to public transport facilities, with trails intertwined to allow more intrepid walkers to undertake longer routes through Edinburgh and the surrounding areas.

For those interested in the most renowned heritage pubs Edinburgh has to offer, Steel - an author with a lifelong passion for pub architecture - introduces the reader to the most unmissable pubs in the city to take in the nation's rich pub going history. These include-

- Athletic Arms (Diggers), 1-3 Angle Park Terrace, EH11 2JX - 'exceptional interior and relatively little altered from a scheme of about 1900'.
- Leslie's Bar, 45/47 Ratcliffe Terrace, EH9 1SU - 'A great late Victorian Edinburgh bar, it's the work of P.L Henderson, probably the most prolific, and arguably one of the best pub architects Scotland has seen'
- Cafe Royal, 19 West Register Street, EH2 2AA - 'Grade A listed, this mid Victorian pub is surely in terms of the richness of the fittings top of the league of Edinburgh pub interiors'.
- Kenilworth Arms, 152/154 Rose Street, EH2 3JD - 'Another impressive island-bar pub, it has recently been deservedly upgraded to a Category A listing'.
- Oxford Bar, 8 Young Street, EH2 4JB - 'The 'Ox' is something different - here is a plain, basic and wonderfully intact old drinking shop from the early 19th century with few embellishments; but for all that one of the city's great pubs'.

Bob Steel, Edinburgh Pub Walks author, said:

'The late great beer writer Michael Jackson once said there was nowhere he would rather pub crawl than Edinburgh, and in my opinion there isn't a more attractive city to take an urban walk. The city's topography and built environment offer continually changing points of interest, and there's always a good pub close to hand when you need one!

'For anyone unfamiliar with this beautiful city, the guide supplements the trails with information about this historic festival city and its origins, complete with an overview of the Scottish real ale industry.

'Edinburgh Pub Walks contains everything you need to start your expedition around this fantastic city, whether you are a seasoned real ale drinker, a history buff, a lover of beautiful city walks, or a fan of breathtaking pub architecture.'

Edinburg Pub Walks is out now, priced 7.99 for CAMRA members and 9.99 for non-members. The title is available from the CAMRA shop and all good retailers. ISBN: 978-1-85249-274-8

2010-08-04
BETTER BY DESIGN
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has re-opened its prestigious Pub Design Awards competition for 2010 in a bid to commend the pioneering design work of the pub industry. The work must have been completed during the year 2009 to be eligible for the 2010 award.

The Pub Design Awards are held in association with English Heritage and the Victorian Society.

The aim of CAMRA's Pub Design Awards scheme is to encourage high standards of architectural design in the refurbishment and conservation of existing public houses and in the construction of the new. With particular relevance to the present day, the aim of the Pub Design Awards is to stimulate interest and aware in the many diverse factors that contribute to the unique character of the British pub as an institution.

With the 2009 competition results being announced later in the year, CAMRA is taking the initiative to launch the 2010 competition after already receiving some strong nominations for future consideration.

The 2010 Awards will be judged by the regular panel of architects, authors, historians and heritage experts. The Awards welcome entrants from anywhere in the British Isles, with the competition consisting of the following four categories:

1) New Build Pub
This category is for entirely new built pubs. The judges look for a number of details when judging the worth of any new establishment. The pub might reflect pubs of the past but without becoming a mere pastiche of Edwardian, Victorian or even Georgian artifacts. Or it could be completely modern, using materials of the 20th or 21st century.

2) Conversion to Pub Use
This is where an existing building is converted to pub use. Pubs are judged on the taste and restraint used on both the outside and inside of the pub.

3) Refurbished pub
Refurbishment can range from a complete gutting to replace what was crass and in bad taste with something far better to an enhancement of what was originally there. Refurbishment should suit the individual pub and not be an excuse to use uniform furnishings to brand the pub with brewery or pub company's image.

4) CAMRA / English Heritage Conservation award
This award, sponsored by English Heritage, is usually given for work on a pub which conserves what is good in the pub, makes good some of the crass refurbishment efforts of the past and ensures that the fabric of the place will survive for further generations of pub goers and drinkers to enjoy.

Sean Murphy, Chairman of the Pub Design Awards judging panel, said:

'At a time when many valued community pubs are under threat, it's fantastic to see the wealth of suggestions we've had informally put forward to us in light of opening the 2010 competition today. Now the competition is officially open, we look forward to receiving examples of the best designs in the country where work has taken place during 2009.'

If you own, design, work, live, or merely like the look of your local pub, please do not hesitate to offer recommendations for the 2010 Awards. Application forms can be downloaded from the CAMRA website at www.camra.org.uk/pdaentryform, with entries submitted by email to tony.jerome@camra.org.uk or posted to:

Tony Jerome
CAMRA Pub Design Awards
Campaign for Real Ale Ltd
230 Hatfield Road
St Albans
Herts
AL1 4LW

The closing date for all entries will be Thursday September 30th 2010, with presentation ceremonies for all award winners to be confirmed at a later date.

2010-07-24
NOT IN MY BACK YARD.
Nigel Adams MP has introduced a bill to give pubs greater planning protection

The Protection of Local Services (Planning) Bill received its First Reading in House of Commons today. The Selby and Ainsty MP is to use the Protection of Local Services (Planning) Bill to give English councils the power to close loopholes in planning law. The new Bill has potential to 'empower local communities' threatened with loss of local pub or other local service.

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale has strongly supported the introduction of a new Parliamentary Bill which will help protect valued community pubs. This is an issue that CAMRA has been campaigning on since early 2009, and was a central proposal in CAMRA's recent Beer Drinkers and Pub Goers Charter which has the support of over 150 MPs in Parliament.

Nigel Adams, new Conservative MP for Selby and Ainsty was recently selected by a ballot in Parliament to bring forward legislation on a subject of his choice. He decided to use this opportunity to give local services such as pubs greater protection from demolition or change of use.

Protection of Local Services (Planning) Bill will give local councils in England the power to close loopholes in planning law which allow local services such as pubs, post offices, local shops and community centres to be demolished without the need to seek planning permission. It could also be used to protect pubs in particular which can be turned into cafes, restaurants or financial services offices without giving communities a say.

Nigel Adams MP said:

'For too long, community buildings have been able to be demolished despite the wishes of local people. It is crucial that we stand up for them. Local services and especially pubs are at the very centre of our communities, providing employment, contributing to the local economy and to community well-bring. It is time that they were protected. My Bill will allow local councils to opt-in where there is a need within their communities and require that developers seek planning permission before demolishing our pubs and other valued local service.'

Nigel's decision to bring this Bill forward has been strongly supported by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. Mike Benner, CAMRA's Chief Executive said:

'This Bill will empower local communities and offer a much-needed lifeline to community pubs and other local services. Pubs are in crisis, with 39 closing every single week. A third of these pubs are then demolished without giving local communities a chance to save them. Both councils and communities are powerless to act as valued and viable pubs are destroyed.'

2010-06-25
CRYING INTO YOUR PINT.
No Happy New Year for pub goers after VAT increase

The VAT increase means combined VAT and duty rates on a pint in the pub to hit 1 in New Year. This VAT increase means up to 10p increase on a pint.

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today predicted that the impact of a VAT hike to 20% in January 2011 will force the rate of pub closure to increase above the current devastating rate of 39 a week.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:

'In the New Year, many pub goers will be hit with a VAT increase that will push up the combined taxation on a pint of beer to over a pound! This historically sad moment for the nation's 15 million pub goers is compounded by the knowledge that this increase will cause yet more well-run community pubs to shut their doors unless the Government acts. Relentless tax increases on the nation's pubs are contributing to pub closures, job losses and a decline in community spirit.

'The announcement of a review into alcohol pricing and taxation this Autumn gives the Government an opportunity to avoid the harm that this VAT increase will impose on pubs. CAMRA will be pressing for targeted measures to support well-run community pubs. These measures could include a new class of business rate relief for community pubs and a compensatory reduction in beer duty.'

2010-06-18
EARLY BIRD.
CAMRA has today asked for people to contact their MP to sign Early Day Motion 210 and support community pubs.

They said that when next Tuesday, the 22 June, the Chancellor announces the Budget, there is a risk that the Government will introduce a further tax rise which will hit pubs, even though tax on beer has already rocketed by 26% since the start of 2008.

They said "We need to make sure that the Chancellor understands the value of well-run community pubs to consumers like you so he does not hit them with more tax rises - or even a double whammy with an increase in both excise duty and VAT which will increase the price of a pint in your local."

To highlight the social, economic and cultural importance of well-run community pubs, EDM 210 - an Early Day Motion or parliamentary petition has been tabled by Greg Mulholland MP which calls on the Government to implement a package of policies which will help secure the future of viable and well-run community pubs.

Pubs are closing at the rate of almost 6 every day and CAMRA are asking the Government to take action now to prevent more pub closures and preserve British culture and heritage.

They will be working to make this the most popular EDM in Parliament, so the Government is compelled to take action. For this they will need over 300 MPs to sign it. Not a small task in itself.

CAMRA is asking members to take 2 minutes to email their MP and ask them to sign the EDM. They need MPs to feel pressure from their constituents in order to understand how important well-run pubs are to their community.

CAMRA have provided different ways to do this "To email your MP asking them to sign EDM 210, please go to http://bit.ly/edm210, select 'email your MP' and send the email that we have drafted for you."

Alternatively, you can write to your MP at:

[MP's name]
House of Commons,
London,
SW1A 0AA

If you have any difficulty contacting your MP or would like to discuss this further, you can get in touch with Emily, CAMRA's Campaigns Officer at emily.ryans@camra.org.uk.

2010-06-01
GOVERNING PUBS
CAMRA has written to the new Prime Minister seeking the appointment of a Minister for Pubs. Pubs,they argue, play a vital role in the economic, social and cultural life of the nation yet are closing at a rate of six a day.

CAMRA has highlighted that there are many exceptionally well qualified candidates for such a post, including Greg Mulholland MP and Nigel Evans MP. Greg Mulholland MP is the winner of CAMRA's 2010 Parliamentarian of the Year Award and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Save The Pubs Group. Nigel Evans MP is Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group and co-chaired the Group's Community Pub Inquiry.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive said:

"It is a positive sign that the new Prime Minister chose to enjoy a pint in his local community pub on Election Night. CAMRA hopes that the new Government will include a Minister for Pubs tasked with safeguarding the future of the nation's pubs.

"Community pubs have long suffered through the absence of a single Minister to speak up for pubs. There are no fewer than six Government Departments whose actions have a major impact on community pubs and before the appointment of a Minister for Pubs by the last Government there was no joined up approach on pub matters. A dedicated Minister for Pubs is vital to ensure that the fate of community pubs does not fall through the gaps between these Government Departments.

"CAMRA will be asking its 110,000 members to contact the Prime Minister to support the reappointment of a Minister for Pubs."

2010-05-25
THE BLACK STUFF
The old advertising slogan "Guinness is Good for You" may be true after all, according to researchers.

A pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as a low dose aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks. Guinness was told to stop using the slogan decades ago - and the firm still makes no health claims for the drink.

Drinking lager does not yield the same benefits, experts from University of Wisconsin told a conference in the US.

The Wisconsin team tested the health-giving properties of stout against lager by giving it to dogs who had narrowed arteries similar to those in heart disease. They found that those given the Guinness had reduced clotting activity in their blood, but not those given lager.

Clotting is important for patients who are at risk of a heart attack because they have hardened arteries. A heart attack is triggered when a clot lodges in one of these arteries supplying the heart. Many patients are prescribed low-dose aspirin as this cuts the ability of the blood to form these dangerous clots.

The researchers told a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida, that the most benefit they saw was from 24 fluid ounces of Guinness - just over a pint - taken at mealtimes.

They believe that "antioxidant compounds" in the Guinness, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the health benefits because they slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol on the artery walls.

However, Diageo, the company that now manufactures Guinness, said: "We never make any medical claims for our drinks." The company now runs advertisements that call for "responsible drinking".

A spokesman for Brewing Research International, which conducts research for the industry, said she would be "wary" of placing the health benefits of any alcohol brand above another.

She said: "We already know that most of the clotting effects are due to the alcohol itself, rather than any other ingredients. It is possible that there is an extra effect due to the antioxidants in Guinness - but I would like to see this research repeated."

She said that reviving the old adverts for Guinness might be problematic - at least in the EU. Draft legislation could outlaw any health claims in adverts for alcohol in Europe, she said.

The original campaign in the 1920s stemmed from market research - when people told the company that they felt good after their pint, the slogan was born.

In England, post-operative patients used to be given Guinness, as were blood donors, based on the belief that it was high in iron.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers were at one stage advised to drink Guinness - the present advice is against this.

The UK is still the largest market in the world for Guinness, although the drink does not feature in the UK's top ten beer brands according to the latest research.

2010-05-24
FIGHTING SPIRIT
Ironbridge, a craft brewery located in Ironbridge Gorge on the banks of the River Severn, celebrated the opening of the Old Fighting Cocks with a delivery of its own Heritage Mild beer by a shire horse-drawn dray.

The pub in Oakengates near Telford had been closed for almost two years before being acquired by Everards as part of our Project William scheme.

Together the breweries have invested in a major 250,000 refurbishment to create an attractive community pub designed to rekindle the traditional values of the Victorian era.

Dave Goldingay, who founded Ironbridge Brewery in 2007, said: This is literally a phoenix out of the flames recession story as the Old Fighting Cocks has been refurbished to be as near as possible the recreation of the traditional splendour of a Victorian cask ale emporium.

It is not only selling ales produced by Ironbridge Brewery, but will feature guest ales from similar microbreweries around the country as well as high quality lagers.

The Old Fighting Cocks is said to be the oldest pub in Oakengates, bearing the date of 1656. Originally thatched and half timbered, the pub burnt down in 1883 and was rebuilt two years later.

To commemorate more than 125 years since this rebuild, Ironbridge has recreated an authentic Heritage Mild (5.5% ABV) from 19th century brewing archives.

Other Ironbridge cask conditioned ales available at the pub include Ironbridge Pale Ale (4.0% ABV), Ironbridge Special Bitter (5.0% ABV) and the session beer Coracle (3.8% ABV).

2010-05-05
VOTE FOR BEER
Following the launch of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale's Beer Drinkers and Pub Goers Charter in February, over 500 Prospective Parliamentary Candidates (PPCs) have signed up to five commitments to speak up for community pubs, real ale and consumers if elected.

Among the supporters are Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas, Labour PPC Ruth Smeeth, Conservative PPC Nigel Evans and Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

On the basis of current polling, well over 100 of these supporters are set to be elected on May 6th.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive said:

The overwhelming response from PPCs is great news for beer drinkers and pub goers across the UK. We expect the next parliament to contain a huge number of MPs who have committed to vital reforms which are necessary to save the UK pub industry.

The issues that matter to CAMRA like reform of the beer tie, protection of community pubs and a fair deal for consumers can no longer be ignored by politicians. Many of CAMRA's key policies including reform of planning law, amendment of licensing law and encouraging responsible drinking featured in each of the main parties' manifestos last week.'

Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat Leader said:

I am proud to be a signatory to the charter and to help bring attention to the much-needed support required for well-run community pubs, local brewers and consumer rights which all contribute to community life and boost the local economy.

Well-run pubs are important to tackling alcohol misuse, they are not part of the problem. Government policies, such as continually raising duty on beer and refusing to reform the beer tie, have led to a situation in which more than 5 pubs a day are said to be closing. It is hugely important that we stand up for the pub industry during these difficult times.'

Paul Kenny, Labour PPC for Boston and Skegness said: 'I think that CAMRA has done a sterling job over the years and I am very happy to back their Charter. Decent and well-run pubs are the bedrock of our communities and deserve our support.'

Claire Perry, Conservative PPC for Devizes said: 'I absolutely agree with all of your aims and believe a village pub to be one of the pillars of the local community.'

CAMRA is now encouraging all 500 candidates to integrate their support for CAMRA's Charter and community pubs with their election campaigning by visiting community pubs, gaining local press coverage and getting involved with their local CAMRA branch. So far PPCs have launched campaigns to save a pub in their constituency, and commissioned campaign beer mats.

2010-04-26
A FAIRER BEER.
More women are trying real ale than ever before. New research released today in National Cask Ale Week has found that 37% of female alcohol drinkers have now tried real ale, compared to just 16% in June 2008.

This unprecedented increase has coincided with reports earlier in the week stating the real ale industry has just undergone its first full year of growth for 28 years, and comes at a time when there are currently more small breweries in operation across the UK than at any time since the Second World War.

As part of National Cask Ale Week, CAMRA and the real ale industry celebrated National FemAle Day' which aimed to encourage even more women to try the different varieties of real ale.

Louise Ashworth, CAMRA Head of Marketing, described the cultural shift taking place at present in Britain's pubs. She said These new figures are certainly no April Fool, and reflect what the industry has been witnessing for some time. Real ale is in vogue, and new research showing such a drastic increase proves that women are growing tired of the homogenous house wines and alcopop fads they are served in their high street pub or bar. I think this huge increase in women trying real ale is down to the whole industry pulling together and becoming more proactive. No longer is beer just brewed and served with men in mind!'

Family brewery Wadworth of Devizes is demonstrating its commitment to female drinkers by brewing a beer specifically for women. This new ale, named Mississippi, has been brewed by a team of women at Wadworth brewery to coincide with Cask Ale Week's FemAle day after a growing demand in this market was recognised.

It has been produced with the female drinker in mind after many months of canvassing opinion to find out what would make the perfect ale for women.

To further build upon the latest trends, leading female members of the beer and pub industry - including representatives from large and small brewers, pub companies, industry bodies Cask Marque and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), and CAMRA - came together on National FemAle Day to launch a new task group. Operating under the name Dea Latis, the Celtic goddess of beer and water, the group of industry members will work closely with each other to encourage further growth in beer consumption.

Dea Latis has commended a number of initiatives that have played their part in the huge rise:

* The use of more stylish and attractive glassware such as stemmed glasses and third pint glasses
* The importance of highlighting that beer is a less calorific option than many women think
* Encouraging more pub groups to introduce try before you buy' initiatives in their outlets
* Working with breweries and pub companies to produce more innovative real ale marketing campaigns which appeal to women as well as men
* Producing and promoting a variety of beer styles to tempt more women to try cask ale such as golden ales, and fruit and wheat beers

Louise Ashworth of CAMRA, said The group started off as a bit of a talking shop, however having learnt more from each other about the obstacles we need to overcome to encourage more women to drink beer, we decided that we should hold an event to try to push this up the agenda and make beer a more appealing drink for women. We decided we should have a beer and chocolate tasting to show that beer really is the perfect accompaniment to lots of our favourite foods, especially chocolate.'

Brigid Simmonds, British Beer and Pub Association Chief Executive, commenting on National FemAle Day and the formation of Dea Latis, said:

At a time when beer sales are falling and pubs closing, this initiative to attract more women to try both is very welcome. It's tremendous to see initiatives from brewers, retailers and organisations like CAMRA starting to change women's perceptions of beer. Beer's immediate attractions as a comparatively low alcohol and low calorie, zero fat drink, with a rich variety of styles and flavours are considerable and should make it a more natural drink of choice for women. But there is still work to be done if we want to attract greater numbers of women beer drinkers, as seen in the US and most of Europe.'

2010-04-11
TIME PLEASE.
Some pub landlords say they are being squeezed out of business by the high rents and inflated beer prices demanded by pub companies.

A GMB union survey of 3,000 tied landlords suggests that almost a third have debts of nearly 50,000. The GMB claims pub companies make tied landlords pay twice as much for beer.

The British Beer and Pub Association said tied landlords may pay more for beer, but did not need much start-up capital to enter the industry. The association, which represents pub companies, said new guidelines will help tied landlords.

About half of the UK's 52,000 pubs are tied to pub companies, where they lease premises from the companies and are obliged to buy their beer from them.

The GMB said the high price of beer was driving thousands of their members out of business. Previously, pub companies have said the "beer ties" situation gave people who were unable to afford to buy a pub of their own the chance to lease one.

In February, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) reopened its investigation into "beer ties". The OFT said it acted after the Campaign for Real Ale applied for a review.

Four months earlier the OFT said it had found no evidence that competition was being harmed by landlords having to buy beer from pub owners.

2010-03-31
ONWARDS AND UPWARDS.
CAMRA has slammed 25% beer duty increase in last 2 years as threat to survival of community pubs

With nearly 6 pubs a day still closing, what community pubs and pub goers needed today was a lifeline, not a death knell.' (Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive)


CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has attacked the Government's lack of regard for community pubs and responsible beer drinkers following a punitive 5% increase in beer duty in today's Budget and plans to increase beer duty above inflation for the next three years.

With nearly 6 pubs a day already closing, CAMRA fears these latest rises will mark the end for many more valued community pubs, with beer prices set to rise in pubs by up to 20p a pint.

Instead of freezing beer duty and helping to protect the nation's well-run community pubs, the Chancellor's last act before the General Election is to impose another duty hike that will lead to further wholesale pub closures. Beer duty has soared by an unprecedented 25% in the last 2 years.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:

'Today's budget is a charter for the large supermarkets who irresponsibly promote alcohol as a loss leader at the expense of our nation's community pubs, real ale and responsible pub goers.

'CAMRA is totally at a loss in understanding how a Government that recognises the community value of pubs can impose such consistently draconian beer duty increases.

'Today's duty increase has stamped down on the survival hopes of community pubs across the UK. This is a further tax raid on responsible beer drinkers and community pubs. It is however a tax raid that will yield little extra money for the Government as any extra beer duty will be outweighed by job losses, pub closures and reduced business taxes.'

CAMRA has today also expressed concern at the 10% above inflation increase in duty on cider and will be demanding Government action to support and protect small real cider producers.

'Hitting small real cider producers with this hike will cause irreparable damage to one of the nation's most historic craft industries. The Government must introduce a relief package to support the UK's small cider producers.'

2010-03-19
HERE'S TO SUCCESS.
Yesterday was a fantastic day for CAMRA, real ale drinkers and pub goers everywhere.

John Healey, Minister for Pubs has announced a major package of reforms to support pubs. This announcement reflects all of the hard work and tireless campaigning that we in CAMRA have been doing both nationally and locally to protect consumers, community pubs and local brewers.

The Government's new 12 point action plan promises sweeping reforms on a wide variety of subjects.

To support community pubs, the Government has announced:

* Greater protection for pubs under threat of demolition
* A ban on the anti-competitive practice of imposing restrictive covenants on the sale of pubs
* Greater flexibility for pubs to diversify by adding shops and other facilities without planning permission
* 1 million Government funding for Pub is The Hub
*3 million to support Community pub ownership
*Greater freedom for pubs to host live music without a specific licence

To reform the operation of the beer tie to ensure a fair deal for tenants and consumers, the Government has announced:

* A one year deadline to fully implement the recommendations of the recent Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report on Pub Companies - before the government intervenes with legislation if necessary - and deliver a beer right and a free of tie option for tied tenants.

The proposals have the potential to totally transform the UK pubs market leading to a free, fair and competitive market where consumers will benefit through greater choice, improved amenity and lower prices.

We are now busy lobbying hard to encourage the other political parties to unveil their policies to support pubs before the General Election. We also need to ensure that the Government sticks to the proposals they've announced.

So it's vital that we keep the pressure up by continuing to encourage election candidates from all parties to support the proposals in CAMRA's Beer Drinkers and Pub Goers Charter.

To get this message through to all politicians it is now more important than ever for you to lobby your election candidates if you haven't done so already.

We hope that you will toast CAMRA's achievements with a pint of real ale in your local pub this weekend!

2010-03-10
Open Sesame
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has reached agreement with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to stay its appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal challenging the OFT's initial response to CAMRA's super-complaint in October 2009. CAMRA's appeal is now stayed until Sunday August 1st 2010 to enable the OFT to consider further evidence of anti-competitive behaviour by the large pub owning companies. The OFT will now conduct an open public consultation before reaching a final decision.

CAMRA's super-complaint argued that anti-competitive practices are inflating pub beer prices by around 50 pence a pint, restricting consumer choice and leading to chronic underinvestment in the nation's pubs.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:

'We are delighted that the OFT has responded to our appeal by agreeing to conduct an open consultation and I encourage all parties to use this opportunity to submit further evidence of anti-competitive practice. The consultation will lead to a new and final decision from the OFT. We are hopeful that on re-examination of the pubs market the OFT will decide to act against anti-competitive behaviour in order to deliver a fair deal for consumers. CAMRA looks forward to working with the OFT to deliver reform of the beer tie so that the pub market works in the interests of consumers.'

CAMRA's fundraising appeal for the reform of the beer tie, which raised over 8,000 since January, will be suspended during the consultation period. The funds will be put towards CAMRA's legal fees. CAMRA reserves the right to re-activate its appeal should it be dissatisfied with the OFT's final decision following the consultation.

2010-03-01
ABOLITION
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has welcomed the Government's decision to revoke the Land Agreements Exclusion Order 2004. The consumer group has been campaigning for its revocation since last summer as part of its campaign to reform the beer tie to address a lack of competition in the pub sector in order to deliver a fair deal to the pub goer. Large pub operating companies, principally those with 500 or more pubs, will now need to work to prove that their beer tie agreements are fully compliant with competition law.

Currently tied landlords are unable to buy beer from brewers of their own choice and are forced to pay prices inflated by around 50 pence a pint. The Government consultation response states that revocation of the Order will promote fairer and more open markets and a better deal for consumers through improved prices, wider choice, greater investment and higher standards of customer service.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive, said:

'This is very positive news for pub-goers, small brewers and struggling lessees. The Order is an anomaly which has for too long given legal cover to companies which are party to potentially anti-competitive agreements. The large pub owning companies will now have to review their existing beer tie arrangements in the full knowledge that they will be liable to severe penalties if it is subsequently proven that they have breached Competition Law.'

'CAMRA remains supportive of the beer tie model provided that it offers a fair share of benefits to consumers through greater choice, price competition and quality. We now urge the large pub owning companies to publicly commit to delivering on the basic principle that a tied tenant should be no worse off than they would be if free of tie.'

2010-02-23
STRENGTH THROUGH POWER.
A controversial Scottish brewery has launched what it described as the world's strongest beer - with a 32% alcohol content. Tactical Nuclear Penguin has been unveiled by BrewDog of Fraserburgh.

BrewDog was previously branded irresponsible for an 18.2% beer called Tokyo, which it then followed with a low alcohol beer called Nanny State. Managing director James Watt said a limited supply of Tactical Nuclear Penguin would be sold for 30 each. He said: "This beer is about pushing the boundaries, it is about taking innovation in beer to a whole new level."

Mr Watt added that a beer such as Tactical Nuclear Penguin should be drunk in "spirit sized measures". A warning on the label states: "This is an extremely strong beer; it should be enjoyed in small servings and with an air of aristocratic nonchalance. In exactly the same manner that you would enjoy a fine whisky, a Frank Zappa album or a visit from a friendly yet anxious ghost."

However Jack Law, of Alcohol Focus Scotland, described it was a "cynical marketing ploy" and said: "We want to know why a brewer would produce a beer almost as strong as whisky."

The beer has been launched on the day alcohol was at the top of the political agenda with the unveiling of the Scottish government's Alcohol Bill including proposals for minimum pricing on drink.

Meanwhile, BrewDog's plans for a new headquarters to produce millions of bottles of beer a year have been approved by Aberdeenshire Council. The decision was taken at a full council meeting despite having been recommended for refusal by officers because the site at Potterton, near Aberdeen, is in the green belt.

2010-01-19
YOUR BARRED.
All-you-can-drink pub offers are facing a ban. These could be banned and compulsory identity checks introduced under government proposals to crack down on alcohol abuse.

If the plans for England and Wales are approved, bars will also not be able to hold speed-drinking competitions. Retailers or publicans in breach of the code could be fined or jailed.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said there was a "duty to act". The Tories said they would give councils more powers to tackle "problem" bars and clubs. It is estimated that alcohol abuse kills 40,000 people in England and Wales every year, with the annual cost of drink-related crime and disorder in the UK as a whole put at between 8bn and 13bn.

If the government's proposals receive parliamentary approval, they will form a new mandatory code for retailers.

Mr Johnson told the Today programme he had not ruled out the possibility of using pricing measures to make alcohol less easily available, but such a move was not "a magic bullet. We don't want to ensure that people... on good incomes can just carry on as normal, but responsible drinkers on low incomes are hit."

But Mr Johnson said a minority of outlets ran irresponsible promotions: "These practices have a real impact on society, not to mention the lives of those who just want to enjoy a good night out."

For the Conservatives, shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said he was "concerned" about the strength of many drinks on the market and that there would be a higher duty placed on these. This, Mr Grayling said, would encourage manufacturers to change, although some "niche products", such as some specialist ciders made by small breweries, would not be affected.

"The problem with minimum pricing is that it affects people who are in no way involved in anti-social behaviour," he said. "It puts up the price of a bottle of sherry, a bottle of wine, so responsible drinkers will end up paying more."

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said last week that the "best way to prevent alcohol misuse is to put an end to alcohol being sold at pocket-money prices".

In Scotland, the government is pushing for a minimum price for alcohol to tackle drink-related problems. Laws requiring young people to prove their age were introduced in the country last year.

The British Beer and Pub Association said it had been asking for legislation to crack down on irresponsible promotions in both pubs and supermarkets.

But spokesman Mark Hastings told the BBC: "What with 70% of all alcohol sold through supermarkets and widespread concern about their promotional prices, the measures announced by the Home Office seem lopsided and unbalanced."

2010-01-11
OLD FOR NEW.
CAMRA has announced their support for the opening of the National Brewery Centre in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire in 2010 after brewer Molson Coors UK reversed its decision to close the brewery site.

Last summer, the Coors Visitor Centre, formerly the Bass Museum, closed its doors due to falling visitor numbers, despite opposition by CAMRA, Janet Dean MP, local and county councils, Burton Civic Society and Chamber of Commerce, and the local media.

However, through the work of a Local Action Group, CAMRA is pleased that the Brewing Centre will now become a reality, and will retain key elements of the existing facilities to ensure the building's historic aspects remain.

Nik Antona, CAMRA Director, and Burton branch spokesperson, said:

'It's fantastic news that we will again have a brewing museum in this country, and a centre reflecting the brewing styles of the UK. This is something CAMRA has been campaigning strongly for over the past year. Having passed a motion at our national AGM to campaign to keep the museum open, we participated in a march through the town centre of Burton, as well as organising a petition at our Burton Beer Festival last September.

'The plans for the Centre are very promising, and an official opening could be a real boost for the local Burton economy. As the capital of British brewing, this is exactly what the town deserves. This is especially promising for the White Shield Brewery, which is based on site. Having won CAMRA awards in the past, it will be great to see their quality recognised further in the public domain.

'Once again this is a really exciting development, and CAMRA is looking forward to working with all parties involved in the opening in order to promote real ale and celebrate one of Britain's most historic industries.'

2009-12-01
SILVER SPOON
Wetherspoon's has today announced it is to create 10,000 jobs in 250 new pubs over the next five years. It already operates 743 pubs in the UK.

The new pubs represent a slight increase in Wetherspoon's current rate of expansion. It opened 39 pubs in 2009 to the end of July on the back of record sales.

It has also announced it would open 40 new pubs by the middle of next summer and invest 250m in the new outlets over the five years.

"Our pubs are extremely popular and we wish to build on their success by opening more," said Wetherspoon's chairman Tim Martin.

2009-11-15
OVERRULED
Pub company ties must be referred to the Competition Commission urgently.

CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale, has criticised the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) for failing to protect consumers by taking no action following the consumer group's super-complaint submitted in July and has called on the Government to refer unfair tie arrangements in the pub sector to the Competition Commission.

In it's response to CAMRA's super-complaint, the OFT has said that consumers benefit from a good deal of competition and choice in the pubs sector, but CAMRA has challenged this at a time when prices are rising and seven pubs are closing every day.

CAMRA's super-complaint followed the hard-hitting report from the parliamentary Business and Enterprise Select Committee (BEC) which called for urgent action to re-balance the relationship between pub-owning companies and their lessees in the interest of consumers.

Mike Benner, CAMRA's Chief Executive said, "We do not accept that there is sufficient competition between pubs or adequate consumer benefit from competition and choice within this sector. The OFT decision fails to address the legitimate concerns raised both in our super-complaint and the BEC report and does nothing to address the imbalance in the landlord/ lessee partnership which is leading to higher prices, less choice and weak investment in pubs."

Mr Benner added, "It is difficult to see how the OFT can argue that competition is working well in the pubs sector when demand is falling, yet prices are rising. Urgent action is now required by Government to stem the flow of pub closures, build a sustainable future and ensure that consumers get a fair share of the benefit from tied agreements as demanded by competition law."

Mike Benner said, "There simply cannot be effective competition between all pubs when many pub landlords are placed at a huge disadvantage, by paying wholesale beer prices that can be around 50p a pint greater than their free of tie competitors."

The OFT has found that higher prices exist for some products in tied pubs, but claims that these are marginal, with a pint of lager costing drinkers 8p more in a tied pub compared to a free house. CAMRA, however, claims that this fails to fully consider that higher prices in tied pubs lead to artificially higher prices in other local pubs through lack of effective price competition and contends that today's cash-strapped drinkers would not regard an 8p premium as marginal.

CAMRA is urging Lord Mandelson to overrule the OFT by referring anti-competitive and unfair tie arrangements of the large pub operating companies to the Competition Commission for an urgent investigation. In taking this decision Lord Mandelson will help secure a sustainable future for Britain's pubs and a fair deal for Britain's 14 million pub-goers.

CAMRA is also calling on the Government to take immediate legislative steps to protect pub landlords and therefore consumers from unfair and anti-competitive contract terms.

CAMRA has called for a policy framework to support community pubs which benefit society following the publication of 'Pubs and Places' by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) in March.

Dr. Rick Muir, author of 'Pubs and Places', said, "Pubs play a key role in community life by providing a friendly and safe environment for people to socialise with friends, family and their wider community. The positive social contribution of many pubs is under threat as a result of high rents and high tied beer prices imposed unfairly by large pub owning companies. Pub landlords are rightly very concerned that unfair tie arrangements are having a serious impact on their ability to compete by reducing prices and improving facilities. The relationship between large pub owning companies and pub landlords needs urgent rebalancing and both the Government and Competition Authorities have their roles to play. In addition a new Government policy framework is required to support, incentivise and reward well-run community pubs."

In calling for referral to the Competition Commission, The BEC report stated the disappointment of the Select Committee that the OFT has previously failed to act on this matter and had refused to acknowledge the current problems in the market. The report said, on the point that the market is working, that "if pubcos push too hard and are too greedy they will fail. But on the way bad companies will inflict real damage on their direct customers, the lessees, and on their indirect customers, ordinary drinkers."

Mr. Benner added, "The Business and Enterprise Select Committee have been proven correct in the view they expressed early this year that an OFT investigation would not be satisfactory and that the Government should now assume responsibility."

2009-11-04
EMPTY SHELLS
A news article appeared in the major press today that shows the devastating effect of the recession on pubs around Britain. See the link below for more details.

Lost Pubs

2009-10-23
ANY PINT, AS LONG AS ITS THIS PINT.
This morning, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced that it will be taking no action following CAMRA's super-complaint relating to the operation of the beer tie by large pub companies.

Naturally CAMRA is extremely disappointed by this inadequate response by the OFT. They claimed that consumers do not suffer a significant detriment from unfair beer tie arrangements, as there is already sufficient competition in the market. The OFT's response has failed to protect consumers who are affected by the beer tie through higher prices, poor facilities and pub closures.

Their response further ignores the outcomes of the recent hard-hitting report from the parliamentary Business and Enterprise Select Committee which called for urgent action to re-balance the relationship between pubcos and tenants. Given the OFT's failure to take action, Peter Luff MP, Chair of the Select Committee, has today announced that they will be reopening their Enquiry.

CAMRA are therefore calling on the Government to overrule the OFT by taking immediate action to refer anti-competitive and unfair tying arrangements by large pubcos to the Competition Commission for immediate investigation.

CAMRA will not stop fighting for a fair deal for consumers. Part of their continuing campaign is the fight for the revocation of the Land Agreements Exclusion and Revocation Order 2004. CAMRA argue this is a particularly unjust piece of regulation as it has exempted beer tie arrangements from the full force of UK Competition Law. If they are successful in getting this regulation removed, all pub owning companies will have to conduct self-assessments of their beer tie agreements to ensure that they comply with competition law.

With this in mind, CAMRA are supporting EDM 2108, a parliamentary petition tabled by John Grogan MP calling on the government to take steps to repeal the Order without delay.

2009-10-10
CIDER PUB OF THE YEAR.
CAMRA National Cider Pub of the Year 2009 Winner - 01/10/2009

Bristol pub best in Britain for cider and perry.

Winner - The Orchard Inn, Bristol, BS1 6XT
Presentation takes place at pub on Thursday October 1st, 1pm - all media welcome

Finalists -
Arkwright Arms, Derbyshire, S44 5JG
Penrhyn Arms, Gwynedd, LL30 3BY
Stand Up Inn, West Sussex, RH16 2HN

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today announced the winner of the National Cider Pub of the Year 2009 competition at the beginning of National Cider and Perry Month.

After a year of local and regional judging rounds, The Orchard Inn, Bristol, has taken the National award after impressing the judges with its unrivalled commitment to serving quality real cider and perry. Judges also noted the pub's attitude to promoting real cider and perry to the consumer, and the friendliness and knowledgeable nature of the staff.

Situated in the heart of maritime Bristol, the one-bar street corner local has become a popular destination for the discerning cider and perry drinker. Stuart Marshall, Orchard Inn licensee, only took over the pub last November, and with the idea of pushing more traditional products to his customers, went about organising cider events to complement the wide array of choice at the bar. As demand took off for real cider and perry, 'Cyder Sundays', Marshall's one-off cider sessions, became a daily fixture.

Stuart Marshall, Orchard Inn licensee, said:

'As I only took over the pub last year, it's great to know I'm doing something right, and that what I'm selling is of interest to people in the local area. I really wasn't aware what I was doing was so special, therefore I am thrilled to have won this award from CAMRA.'

Andrea Briers, Chair of CAMRA's Cider and Perry Committee, said:

'The Orchard Inn is like visiting a mini cider festival, and it's a paradise destination for anyone who appreciates real cider and perry. Apart from the quality at the bar, we were also impressed by the knowledgeable staff who appeared determined to find something to suit every drinker's palate. The pub is a worthy winner, and it's very apt that it is called The Orchard!'

Other finalists for the National award were the Arkwright Arms, Sutton cum Duckmanton, Penrhyn Arms, Penrhynside, and the Stand Up Inn, Lindfield.

The Arkwright Arms was praised by the judges for its 'wonderful selection of ciders from all over the country, coupled with the friendliness of the staff.' The Penrhyn Arms was a 'very popular community pub and worthy winner of numerous awards both locally and regionally, with a handy cider menu available for drinkers.' And finally the Stand Up Inn was lauded for its 'good range of cider and vibrant pub atmosphere.'

Briers continued:

'What we've seen this year is a really high standard of cider pubs emerging at a time when so many pubs are closing down. It just shows that publicans in the current climate are striving to differentiate themselves from other outlets and making that extra effort to offer something new to the consumer.'


CAMRA launches new promotion for pubs serving real cider

As National Cider Pub of the Year 2009, the Orchard Inn will be the first pub to be accredited as part of a new initiative from CAMRA.

As the number of UK pubs selling real cider and perry continues to increase, CAMRA is introducing a new window sticker initiative to inform consumers where real cider is being sold. CAMRA hopes the scheme will make it easier for drinkers to recognise a cider pub, and give support for such pubs at a time when many are looking to diversify in order to offer something new to their customers.

Andrea Briers, Chair of CAMRA's Cider and Perry Committee, will be placing the first-ever 'Real Cider Sold Here' sticker in the window of the Orchard Inn on October 1st, but is keen to stress that any pub serving real draught cider or perry all year round is eligible for this accreditation from CAMRA.

Briers said:

'If a pub is serving real cider all year round, and it is of a good and consistent quality, we encourage them to contact us, as we'd like to do everything we can to drive custom towards their pub. This accreditation scheme is all about showcasing the availability of real cider, increasing sales of real cider and supporting pubs at a time when 52 are closing nationally per week.'

2009-09-30
GOODNESS GRACIOUS BEERGUIDE


The best 4,500 pubs according to the Campaign for Real Ale

- 1297 new pub entries and 71 new breweries listed in the Guide
- CAMRA finds 711 breweries in the UK!
- CAMRA today announce the 16 Regional Pub of the Year Winners

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today launched the 37th edition of its annual Good Beer Guide which features the best 4,500 real ale pubs in Britain.

Despite many pubs struggling in today's current economic climate, with research showing that 52 pubs close permanently every week across the UK, this year's Good Beer Guide highlights that the real ale scene is thriving.

The Guide, sponsored by industry accreditation body Cask Marque, features over 4,500 urban and rural pubs, giving details of the real ales, food, opening hours, beer gardens, accommodation, transport links, pub history, disabled access and facilities for families.

CAMRA's 100,000 strong membership fully update and revise the Guide every year, thereby guaranteeing to supply the reader with the most up to date publication in helping to locate the best pint of real ale. There are a total of 1297 new entries in this year's Guide.

Roger Protz, Good Beer Guide editor, said:

'CAMRA's Good Beer Guide remains the number-one, independent guide to good beer and pubs. It is wonderful to see there are now over 700 breweries in Britain brewing far in excess of 2,500 different varieties of real ale, and so many fantastic pubs in which to drink this beer.

'CAMRA members continue to work relentlessly throughout the year to ensure the reader gets the most up to date guide to the best pubs in Britain. Their tireless work is the reason why the Good Beer Guide remains Britain's best-selling pub guide, and I'd like to thank them personally for their hard work and support.'


Regional Pub of the Year 2009 WINNERS:

To celebrate the launch of the Good Beer Guide 2010, CAMRA has announced the 16 CAMRA Regional Pubs of the Year winners. These are the pubs that have been hailed as the very best real ale pubs in the country.

The National Pub of the Year winner will be judged from the final 16 Regional Pubs of the Year and announced in February 2010.

Regional winners -

Central Southern Royal Oak Inn, Wantage, Oxon, OX12 8DF
East Anglia Wheatsheaf, Writtle, Essex, CM1 3DU
East Midlands Old Oak Inn, Horsley Woodhouse, Derbyshire, DE7 6AW
Greater London Bricklayer's Arms, Putney, SW15 1DD
Greater Manchester Crown Hotel, Worthington, Gtr Manchester, WN1 2XF
Kent Bull, Horton Kirby, Kent, DA4 9DF
Merseyside, Cheshire and North Wales Golden Lion Inn, Llangynhafal, LL16 4LN
North East Boathouse Inn, Wylam, Northumberland, NE41 8HR
Scotland and NI Albert Tavern, Freuchie, Fife, KY15 7EX
South and Mid Wales Severn Arms, Penybont, LD1 5UA
South West Old Spot, Dursley, Gloucestershire, GL11 4JQ
Surrey and Sussex Royal Oak, Friday Street, West Sussex, RH12 4QA
Wessex Prince of Wales, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 8AL
West Midlands Cock Hotel, Wellington, Shropshire, TF1 2DL
West Pennines Taps, Lytham, Lancashire, FY8 5LE
Yorkshire Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield, S3 8RW

2009-09-22
GUIDE TO ALE
Good Beer Guide 2010 finds real ale brewing industry to be one of the most successful small business sectors in the UK

On the day its flagship publication, the Good Beer Guide, is launched, CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today released new findings showing the fastest-growing real ale areas in the UK.

Total beer sales in the beer and pub industry may be at their lowest since the Great Depression, but the Good Beer Guide can happily report that the real ale industry is maintaining its rapid growth, with more brewers in operation than at any time since the Second World War. CAMRA has found that 71 new breweries have started production in the UK in the last 12 months, taking the total to 711 breweries nationwide!

CAMRA has published new findings from the latest Good Beer Guide revealing the most prolific brewing areas* in the land. A comprehensive list can be viewed at www.camra.org.uk/realalepremierleague. Roger Protz, Good Beer Guide editor, said:

'For the first time since the 19th century, Britain is the undisputed top brewing country in the world. It has over 700 breweries and has more small craft breweries per head of population than all other major industrialised countries; but it also offers tremendous choice.'

'While most other countries offer mainly mainstream lagers, Britain has enormous diversity: milds, bitters, strong ales, porters, stouts, barley wines, old ales, Xmas ales, spring beers, golden ales and harvest ales to name just a few. And some craft brewers are even producing lagers in the true Continental style.'

'This rebirth of British brewing is due to the pioneering work of CAMRA- there are now more than twice as many breweries in Britain than when the campaign was launched in 1971- and to the enthusiasm and innovation of independent brewers.'

In its latest Annual Industry Report, SIBA, The Society of Independent Brewers, revealed that their members had experienced a 7% year on year volume growth throughout 2007 and 2008; a record that is unlikely to be matched by any other sector of small and medium sized businesses. Further to this, new companies brewing through 2008 added a further 3% to year on year volumes, marking a total volume growth of 10%.

As for community pubs, the industry-led Intelligent Choice Report revealed how research from one national pub company showed well-kept beer to be a true indicator of success. Findings showed how pubs that obtained an award from Cask Marque, a quality accreditation body and sponsor of the Good Beer Guide 2010, were experiencing sales growth of 14%, while those without saw a decline of -2.5%.

Protz concluded:

'This is an exciting time for real ale. Craft brewers are growing their sales at a time of economic downturn and falling demand for big beer brands. It's a major success story. And there's more to come: the Good Beer Guide lists 25 new breweries that will come on stream later this year and in 2010.'

2009-08-25
LEAVE MY PINT ALONE.
Plans to replace the traditional pint glass with one made of shatter-proof plastic will not be accepted by drinkers, the pub industry has warned. The Home Office has commissioned a new design, in an attempt to stop glasses being used as weapons. Official figures show 5,500 people are attacked with glasses and bottles every year in England and Wales.

The British Beer and Pub Association said it did not want the new plastic glasses to be made compulsory. Neil Williams from the association said he was concerned that drinkers would notice a drop in quality.

"For the drinker, the pint glass feels better, it has a nice weight and the drink coats the glass nicely. That's why people go out for a drink, to have a nice experience."

He said there was a danger that pubs with no record of trouble would be penalised. He said: "I would ask, is it necessary to replace the much-loved pint glass for safety reasons in the vast majority of pubs where there is no problem? Pubs shouldn't be put under pressure to stop using glasses if they are safe places to drink. Why on earth ask them to do that? They shouldn't be corralled into using plastic glasses. Anything that would move us towards a plastic product would not be welcomed."

Mr Williams said the industry feared extra costs at a time when many pubs were struggling in the recession: "It would impose another cost on us. Red tape is already coming from all sides."

Nick Verebelyi, the designer in charge of delivering the new pint, said they were looking at two approaches. "One is to coat the glass with a substance that will make sure the glass doesn't shatter into pieces when it is broken - that could be a plastic material for example. But it would have to feel like an existing pint glass to the consumer."

Mr Verebelyi said his company, Design Bridge, was also looking at changing the pint altogether.

"We could do something more radical, by looking at the whole shape and substance of the pint - we could come up with something that is completely different to glass. Remember that years ago people used to drink out of pewter tankards. It could be quite a significant paradigm shift."

Mr Verebelyi said he accepted that drinkers are attached to the traditional glass pint. "You make a change and there is often opposition, we've got to make it appealing to them. We've got to make it desirable and acceptable and cool. There's going to be quite a push behind this in terms of the Home Office."

The Home Office Minister, Alan Campbell, said the redesign could make a significant difference to the number of revellers who are injured. He said: "Innovative design has played an important role in driving down overall crime, including theft, fraud and burglary. This project will see those same skills applied to the dangerous and costly issue of alcohol-related crime and I am confident that it will lead to similar successes."

2009-08-21
WOMEN DRINKERS.
New research shows a phenomenal growth in the number of women trying real ale, Britain's national drink.

* Twice as many women have tried Britain's national drink compared to a year ago
* 30% of women drinkers have now tried real ale, compared to just 16% in 2008!

Louise Ashworth, CAMRA Head of Marketing, said 'CAMRA's efforts to convince women that real ale is not just for the boys are paying off. These research findings are very significant, with the number of female drinkers trying real ale for the first time doubling in only one year. Last year we launched the Girls Guide to the Great British Beer Festival because we were concerned that women drinkers were missing out on the pleasures of our national drink. But in the past year real ale brewers, alongside CAMRA, have really stepped up their drive to recruit more women to give real ale a try, and this hard work has paid dividends.'

In 2008, CAMRA released new research documenting why women drinkers had never tried real ale, with 13% not knowing where to start, 12% not knowing what real ale is, 12% thinking real ale would be too bitter, and 9% not liking the appeal of beer in general.

Since this research was conducted, initiatives such as 'FemALE day' during National Cask Ale Week in April, the continuing introduction of third pint measures into Britain's pubs and bars, and record attendance figures at some of CAMRA's 150+ beer festivals have been the catalyst for this radical change in female drinking trends.

On hearing of the new research, Melissa Cole said: 'It's really gratifying to see more and more women discovering the delights of real ale. On the grounds of taste and flavour there's no reason why more women shouldn't drink real ale, the reason they haven't been doing so over the last few decades is a combination of macho marketing, poor product information and urban myths.'

'Fortunately the combined work of bodies like CAMRA and beer writers like myself has meant that more and more women now understand much more about real ale; they now get that it isn't gassy or bloating, is lower in calories than wine and most importantly, because of the category's immense diversity, women know there's a style of real ale out there for them.'

2009-08-14
LOST BUT NOT FOUND.
UK pubs closed at a rate of 52 per week in the first half of the year - a third more than the same period in 2008 - the British Beer & Pub Association said.

Local pubs were the most vulnerable as communities were hit by the fallout of the economic downturn, it added. The research suggested businesses that provided food were far more resilient to the recession. And branded pubs and cafe-style bars were opening at a rate of two a week, according to the report.

"Pubs are already diversifying, but unfortunately if you are a community pub, you can't transform yourself into a trendy town-centre bar," said an association spokesman. "The biggest impact is the recession. There are fewer people out and fewer people spending money in pubs and bars, regardless of where they are," he said.

On Tuesday, two MPs tabled a motion in the House of Commons, urging their colleagues to "support their local pubs". Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland and Labour's Lynne Jones said the pub industry was "hugely important to the British tourist trade".

The rate of closures was the fastest since the number of UK pubs began being tracked, in 1990. The number of pubs has dropped by 2,377 in the past year, to a total of 53,466. The association's chief executive, David Long, said that the economic pressures of the recession had been added to by the smoking ban, tax rises on alcohol and "regulatory burdens". Pub closures had cost 24,000 jobs, he added.

"Government should look at valuing and rewarding pubs as community assets," Mr Long said. "Not only would this have social policy benefits, by supporting a hub of community cohesion, but financial policy benefits in terms of tax revenues, particularly at a time when the public purse is stretched."

A number of pub firms have said that they have been offering financial support for tenants, in an effort to enable them to stay open. Last month, pub and brewing company Marston's said it wanted to raise 176m in a rights issue. Most of the funds would be earmarked for buying land and developing pubs in densely populated areas, with a focus on food.

2009-08-07
MAKE MINE A MOLECULE.
A material that could lead to beer with significantly longer shelf life has been designed by researchers.

The approach works by removing riboflavin, or vitamin B2, which causes changes to beer's flavour when exposed to light passing through the bottle.

Scientists at the Technical University of Dortmund designed a polymer "trap" with tiny crevices that capture the riboflavin molecules.

The technique could be applied to other beverages such as milk, they said. Because such riboflavin-containing beverages tend to be stored in translucent containers, they are more prone to the effects of light on their long-term storage.

In a process called photo-oxidation, ultraviolet light can strip off charged atoms that can go on to degrade other chemicals or proteins in the drink, ultimately affecting its flavour and shortening its shelf life.

Borje Sellergren of the Technical University of Dortmund made use of a technique called molecular imprinting to design a solution to the riboflavin problem. The process involves chemically designing a riboflavin-shaped cavity into a polymer by moulding it around riboflavin molecules and then removing them. These polymer cavities are then made in high quantities, selectively trapping riboflavin when dunked into a vat of beer or milk. The idea mimics biological systems such as antibodies which are targeted in a similar "lock-and-key" way for mopping up bacteria or viruses.

The work was commissioned by Dutch brewery Heineken, but the concept is not just limited to those drinks, Dr Sellergren told BBC News. "The technology itself is more generic than we've shown here," he said. "There are a number of examples where this kind of absorbance can be used for the removal of specific unwanted compounds in food - flavours, impurities, pesticides, and spoilage agents as we've shown here. The next step is to demonstrate for the brewery industry and food industry that we have this capability now."

2009-08-05
WEAK AT THE KNEES.
Beer activists are calling on the government to scrap tax on brews made with just 2.8% alcohol. But would drinkers sup a weaker pint for the sake of 60p? It has the same rich brown body and frothy head as most of the hundreds of beers on tap at the Great British Beer Festival.

Swilling back a mouthful may well prompt the same satisfying smack of the lips and hoppy aftertaste. But drinking four or five of Welton's Pride 'n' Joy will not have quite the same inebriating effect as Oakham brewery's formidable Attilla, at 7.5% alcohol, or even Thwaites' Wainwright, at a fairly standard 4.1%.

Sussex-brewed Pride 'n' Joy is being showcased by the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) at the festival, in London's Earl's Court in a bid to prove that weaker beer can be tasty. And, at 2.8% alcohol, it is a little over half the strength of many premium beers.

With British palettes grown accustomed to high-strength continental lagers, many brewers also upped their ale's alcohol content as people shunned traditional milds and weaker "boys bitters". It left mid-strength beers difficult to come by, with a resultant hangover for the government in the form of drink-fuelled violence and rising rates of alcohol-related illness.

However, Camra says one remedy may be easily at hand, with EU rules allowing member states to apply reduced excise rates to beers not exceeding 2.8%. It claims completely scrapping tax on these lower alcohol brews would slash the price of a pint by up to 60p, although the Treasury does not recognise this figure.

In a survey, 55% of respondents told Camra they would try a more timid tipple. Its chief executive, Mike Benner, says that with a recession hitting people's pockets and pubs closing "at a rate of seven a day", it is the perfect time to introduce a duty-free "People's Pint". "This is an opportunity to make it easier for people to drink responsibly whilst also supporting the tens of thousands of jobs under threat as a result of falling beer sales and pub closures," he says. "It's quite common in pubs to hear people trying to control consumption by asking for shandy. This would give people the option of a tasty bitter instead."

Mr Benner will be pressing Chancellor Alistair Darling to include the measure in November's pre-Budget report and the Treasury says it will engage with the drinks industry on alcohol duty.

Of course, it's not necessarily a solution that would keep all sides happy. "Alcohol duties are an important contributor to the public finances," a government spokesman cautions.

"Having more lower strength drinks on the market allows people to enjoy a night out while making it easier to stay within safe drinking guidelines," says the charity's chief executive, Don Shenker.

But this is not the first time brewers have tried supping from a more moderate chalice. Concerns over binge drinking have led the alcohol industry to promote responsible intake.

Brewers of premium strength beers, such as Beck's and Stella Artois, are now touting 4% varieties. And Carling could justifiably claim to be ahead of Camra's call, having launched its C2 brand - at 2% - in 2006. Guinness too has been trialling its 2.8% "Mid-Strength" in Ireland.

But if they were hoping for a mass conversion, they so far have been disappointed, says industry analyst Graham Page. These tamer brews have "not done anything spectacular," says Mr Page, of market research company Nielsen. "If you're driving or have work to do after lunch then it works but part of the difficulty for brands of 2 to 3% is that, comparatively, the flavour characteristics are thinner. I've been in the industry 40 years and no-one has found a solution to the low or mid-strength alcohol opportunity."

Many micro-breweries already enjoy significant tax breaks and so may not, in reality, be able to cut as much as 60p from a pint, he adds. Even if some can - and the public are ready to respond to price incentives - brewer Ray Welton admits mid-strength beer has always been "very difficult to sell".

It was frustration at "poor quality, lower strength beers that tasted like dishwater" that prompted him to produce Pride 'n' Joy, two years after setting up his Horsham-based operation in 1995.

Mr Welton believes reducing duty would encourage more brewers to follow suit - though he admits it is "the hardest beer to brew". Using less sugar and malt to reduce the alcohol content also means using fewer hops to balance the taste - but it's these ingredients that give beer its flavour. The end product also gives publicans a problem, in that a lower alcohol content reduces a beer's lifespan. Even then, a landlord must work hard to convince his regulars to give it a go. Just ask Simon Johnson, who runs the White Horse in Maplehurst, Sussex. "I might have six beers on and they'll look at the low alcohol one and say 'it looks a bit thin'," he says. "I have to give them a sample and once they taste it, they'll buy it."

Ratings on the festival's website seem to bear out this view, with visitors awarding four out of five to Belhaven 60/-, an East Lothian light beer at 2.9%, and several 3.6% products such as Wells Eagle IPA and Hobson's Twisted Spire.

So, brewing good low alcohol beers seems possible. Whether the market is large enough to encourage mass production - and prompt a change in the nation's drinking habits - remains to be seen.

2009-07-28
TOO STRONG BY HALF.
A Scottish brewery has been branded "irresponsible" after launching what it said was the UK's strongest beer. With an 18.2% alcohol content, a 330ml bottle of Tokyo*, made by BrewDog, contained six units of alcohol - twice the recommended daily limit.

The company insisted the beer's high quality would help tackle the country's binge-drinking culture. But Alcohol Focus Scotland branded the Fraserburgh-based brewer's argument "deluded".

The brewing company's latest product uses jasmine, cranberries, malts and American hops, and is then fermented with a champagne yeast to make the high alcohol content. A bottle of the beer will be priced at 9.99.

BrewDog founder James Watt said: "Mass-market, industrially-brewed lagers are so bland and tasteless that you are seduced into drinking a lot of them. We've been challenging people to drink less alcohol, and educating the palates of drinkers with progressive craft-brewed beers which have an amazing depth of flavour, body and character. The beers we make at BrewDog, including Tokyo*, are providing a cure to binge beer-drinking."

But Alcohol Focus Scotland chief executive Jack Law warned high alcohol percentage beer could cause as much damage as drinking to excess.

"This company is completely deluded if they think that an 18.2% abv, (alcohol by volume), beer will help solve Scotland's alcohol problems," he said. "It is utterly irresponsible to bring out a beer which is so strong at a time when Scotland is facing unprecedented levels of alcohol-related health and social harm. Just one bottle of this beer contains six units of alcohol - twice the recommended daily limit."

A spokeswoman from the British Liver Trust added: "The notion of binge-drinking is to get drunk quick, so surely this beer will help people on their way?"

BMA Scotland warned a "high percentage" of the population was regularly drinking more than the recommended amount.

BrewDog ran into controversy recently when drinks industry watchdog the Portman Group said its Speedball drink should be withdrawn from sale until its marketing was changed. Speedballing is the name given to combining heroin and cocaine.

BrewDog has produced a run of 3,000 limited edition bottles of Tokyo*.

2009-07-21
TRAVEL TO BEER
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, can officially announce that Travelodge, one of Britain's biggest hotel companies, will be stocking bottled real ale.

Travelodge have reacted to their own customer feedback by pledging to stock bottled real ale in up to 100 of its hotel bars and cafe's, giving the Champion Beer of Britain brewer unrivalled access to the hotel chain's thirsty customers. Paul Harvey, Managing Director of Travelodge, said:

"I am delighted that we will be selling the Champion Bottled Beer of Britain in our hotels. Our customers have told us that they want a real ale offer and what could be better than CAMRA's winning drink?"

As part of their sponsorship, Travelodge will also be offering 2 lucky customers the chance to sit on the Champion Bottled Beer of Britain competition judging panel alongside some of the best palettes in the industry.

Louise Ashworth, CAMRA Head of Marketing, said:

'It's fantastic that Travelodge are backing this competition at the Great British Beer Festival in August, as well as actively promoting bottle-conditioned beer by agreeing to stock the winner in their many outlets. Recent market trends show the increasing consumer demand for real ale continues, therefore we've no doubt Travelodge customers will enjoy the best bottle-conditioned beer in Britain according to CAMRA!'

2009-07-14
WELSH CHAMP.
FOURTH BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR PORTHMADOG BREWERY

A brewery from Porthmadog won the prestigious Champion Beer of Wales Competition, held at the Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival, Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff. The Festival was organised by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.

The Purple Moose Brewery, or Mws Piws in Welsh, beat 40 other breweries from across Wales to win the award, with a panel of beer experts judging its Snowdonia Ale as the best beer in Wales.

Laurence Washington, Purple Moose head brewer, said:

'It is a great honour to win this award and be known as the brewer who brews the best beer in Wales. I have previously been a runner-up in the awards and this is just fantastic news as it coincides with our fourth anniversary and 500th brew.'

Purple Moose Snowdonia Ale is a golden hoppy ale, with a refreshing bite, easy drinking with a strength of 3.6% ABV and a bitter aftertaste.

Second and third places in the Champion Beer of Wales Competition went to the Otley Brewery of Pontypridd, with their OG Bitter finishing second, and their Porter in third.

The Great Welsh Beer and Cider Festival is the biggest beer festival in Wales and featured over 150 real ales and 70 ciders and perries.

2009-07-07
PAPER BEER.
'BEER Magazine is best 'New Publication'', says British Association of Communicators in Business

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is proud to announce that its quarterly publication, BEER, has for the second time this year been hailed by the communications industry.

Following on from being 'Highly Commended' in the Best Magazine Charity/Membership category at the MemCom Awards 2009, BEER magazine has improved on this excellent start to the year by being declared 'Winner' in the 'New Publication' class at the 2009 British Association of Communicators in Business Awards (CiB).

BEER Magazine won the award after beating entries from major organisations such as RBS, the Ministry of Defence, Orange UK and the Post Office ltd. The achievement was capped by high praise from the industry judges, who praised BEER for its informative writing style and ability to convey a specialist subject to a wider audience.

Tom Stainer, BEER Magazine editor, said:

'One of the most rewarding aspects of this award was the feedback we got from the judges. They said as non-real ale drinkers that they still found BEER to be interesting and engaging, and encouraged them to find out more about the subject. It's exactly what we designed BEER to achieve and it's great to be told that the magazine is doing what it should, not only promoting real ale to non real-ale drinkers and encouraging people to sign up to CAMRA, but providing a high quality, entertaining, informative and now award-winning magazine to our current members.'

BEER was re-launched last August as a stand-alone magazine after being a supplement in CAMRA's monthly paper, What's Brewing. BEER magazine's growing reputation has seen renowned figures such as Sebastian Faulks, Marco Pierre White, James May and Rick Stein agreeing to contribute as writer or interviewee.

CAMRA would like to thank the What's Brewing and BEER magazine team for their fantastic efforts, and the work of Think Publishing in the advertising and production process.

BEER is available in selected retailers, or for free as part of a CAMRA membership subscription. For more information, visit www.camra.org.uk/beer

2009-06-29
A FOREIGN AFFAIR
Good Beer Guide Belgium cover CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is celebrating the release of a new edition of one of its best selling beer and travel guides, Good Beer Guide Belgium', with a competition to win a weekend away in Brussels.

Author Tim Webb has been touring Belgium to find the best places to visit, the best restaurants to go to and the best beer to drink; as well as educating the reader about how and where to enjoy Belgian beer in the UK. Combining travel information with a specialist knowledge of Belgian beers provides an interesting insight into a beautiful country that produces some of the world's most interesting beers.

Webb said:

Nowadays the book is a travel guide, with sections on getting there, understanding the country, specialist tourism, bringing beer home and UK suppliers. At heart it is still about politics and in particular the dynamic between the global dream makers selling white sliced beer and the artists who create the interesting stuff.'

Containing information on beer styles, Belgian brewers, and the places to drink the beer in Belgium provides all the reader needs to know about beer and travel in Belgium; as well as including some quirky trivia about the Belgian brewing industry.

This new edition is a great companion for anyone travelling to the country, and its imagery of some fascinating Belgian landmarks and scenery, as well as images of beer guaranteed to whet the appetites of both novices and connoisseurs alike.

Webb continued:

Good Beer Guide Belgium is what happens if you look into why people travel and figure out that a lot of us do it to be somewhere else and enjoy something you can't get at home. The Belgians make the finest, most enjoyable and extraordinary beers on Earth - the fact that they don't realise it is a bonus. It's great to be a tourist with a weapon that puts you ahead of the locals.'

Competition Time

CAMRA has joined forces with Eurolines to run a competition to win coach travel and accommodation for two to Brussels, giving one lucky winner and a friend the chance to sample the delights of Belgium and its beers first hand. Cave Direct, sponsors of the Good Beer Guide Belgium, have also offered ten cases of Belgian beers as runners-up prizes, providing beer fans the chance to sample some of, arguably, Belgium's best export.

You can enter online at www.camra.org.uk/belgiumcomp.

2009-06-20
IF YOU LIKE A LOT OF CHOCOLATE.....
Winner: Guiseley Factory Workers Club, 6 Town Street, Guiseley, West Yorkshire, LS20 9DT / 01943 874793

Guiseley Factory Workers Club, a working men's club renowned for its outstanding beer quality and choice, has today been announced as CAMRA's National Club of the Year for 2009.

Situated in the town of Guiseley, West Yorkshire, the club previously won the CAMRA Leeds Pub of the Year in 2006, and is a regular in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. CAMRA judges noted how the club has consistently maintained a large range of quality real ales thanks to a dedicated beer selection panel on the club's managing committee.

The traditional three-roomed layout of the club consists of a lounge, snooker room and concert room, and has become a meeting place for community clubs and societies. The club holds an annual beer festival in April, and maintains a strong relationship with local brewers; this consideration for the local economy being another reason why CAMRA judges were so impressed by the club.

Since 2003, when the club began serving real ale, the management has dealt with over 142 different breweries, subsequently serving a staggering 627 different real ales from their 4 guest ale handpumps!

On hearing the news of the club's success, Paul Kennedy, Guiseley Factory Workers Club Secretary, said:

We are surprised to win, but it's a tremendous reward for the efforts of the people involved in the club, with our very own beer committee selecting a successful range of beer that appeals to our drinkers. Our stewards are fantastically devoted cellar men- good beer is simple to serve if you do the right things, and we at the club are all dedicated to maintaining high standards.'

There are currently around 30,000 clubs in the UK. For the search to find CAMRA's National Club of the Year, submissions were put forward by CAMRA's 200-plus local branches, with the criteria based around the club's commitment to real ale. In 2009, the Yorkshire-based working men's club reigned supreme over the three other National finalists, which were-

* United Services Club, Egham, Surrey
* Leyton Orient Supporters Club, London (also, joint National winner, 2008)
* Somers Sports and Social Club, Halesowen, West Midlands

John Holland, Chair of CAMRA's Clubs Committee, said:

Guiseley Factory Workers Club is a deserved winner as it is a perfect venue for the discerning real ale drinker, as well as anyone wishing to enjoy the ambience and relaxed surroundings of a great club. The staff seem extremely proud of their range at the bar, and deservedly so. Consistently excellent service and great value for money, there is also a wide range of events held to cater for the surrounding community. What more could you ask for in your local club?!'

Mick Moss, CAMRA's Regional Director for Yorkshire, displayed his local pride for a Yorkshire-based club winning the national title. He concluded:

The club is one of Yorkshire's most treasured real ale outlets, and has at last gained national recognition. The way the club's beer selection committee devotes so much time and thought into serving a variety of guest beers to their clientele is truly impressive, especially when coupled with the dedication and hard work of the stewards. The club is a leading example of a venue that does all the simple things right.'

2009-06-19
SOCIAL POWER
Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) MPs presented a new report which highlights the importance of pubs to society and calls for urgent action to avert the closure of 40 pubs a week. The report was produced by leading think tank, ippr, Institute for Public Policy Research, with the support of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale.

The ippr report includes a pioneering new method of calculating the social and economic benefit generated by well-run community pubs and finds that pubs are:

* the most popular place where people can mix socially with others from different backgrounds
* a great supporter of charity, with over 3,000 raised per pub every year
* outside of the home the most popular place for people to meet their neighbours
* a place for people to make new friends- more than one in five pub goers has made a new friend in a pub in the past six months.

Rick Muir, Senior Research Fellow, ippr said:

"Government must stop using a one size fits all approach to licensed premises which is killing off our community pubs. Well-run community pubs should be encouraged and supported rather than penalised along with the small number of badly run pubs. Community pubs are not just places to drink but also places where people meet their neighbours; make new friends; and where local clubs hold meetings and events."

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive

"At a time of unprecedented pub closures, this report will help Local Councils and National Government recognise the importance of well-run pubs to strong communities and thriving local economies. Well-run community pubs not only provide a safe and relaxed environment for people to enjoy a drink but they also form the bedrock of community life and people's social networks. Virtual networking sites such as Facebook and My Space will never be able to replace the experience of socialising in person in the Great British Pub."

2009-06-08
BUSINESS AS USUAL.
CAMRA has welcomed the following recommendations from the Business and Enterprise Select Committee:

- that the Government addresses the inequalities of bargaining power between pub companies and lessees
- that the Government ban companies selling pubs with restrictive covenants preventing them being used as pubs in the future

CAMRA has further suggested that there should be an independent economic study into the operation of the beer tie by the Office of Fair Trading before the Government decides to refer the issue to the Competition Commission for a lengthy investigation.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:

"While the issue of the beer tie' needs to be assessed to ensure fairness to all parties we are not yet convinced of the need for a lengthy Competition Commission Investigation. A two to three year investigation would create huge disruption and uncertainty for the UK's pub owners, licensees and consumers. A lengthy investigation may also serve to delay urgent action to deliver fairness to struggling pub licensees and their customers."

"CAMRA supports the principle of the "beer tie" provided that the higher prices licensees are required to pay for their beer supplies are balanced by a lower rent, credible business support and the option of stocking a guest beer."

"We are delighted that the committee has backed CAMRA's campaign to end the immoral practice of selling pubs with restrictive covenants that prevent them being used as pubs in the future. This deplorable practice deprives communities of valued pubs, reduces consumer choice and may ultimately lead to higher pub prices in a particular area due to a lack of competition."

"CAMRA has long been concerned about the unbalanced relationship between pub companies and lessees and hopes that the Government will look at this issue with great urgency. A mandatory code of conduct providing a set of legally enforceable rights for lessees, particularly relating to rent calculations, would be of huge benefit and should not be delayed until after a lengthy investigation."

2009-05-27
MAT'ADORE
Last orders for beer mat maker?

As another lorry empties its cargo of logs, German Miles waves to the driver, then brings his gaze back to the freshly felled tree trunks piling up in front of him.

"It's amazing to think," he says, "just this morning that wood was standing in the forest behind us, but that in a few days it'll probably be in coaster, in a bar, for drinking beer."

Having worked at the Katz Group since 1975, Mr Miles, who began as a printer and is now production manager, has had plenty of time to get used to the idea.

But to the outsider it is hard to grasp that this quiet corner of the Black Forest in South West Germany is home to the world's biggest producer of the humble beer mat.

The small pieces of cardboard - usually covered in the logo of a brewery or beer brand - are familiar to anyone who has spent a bit of time in pubs and bars, especially in the UK and mainland Europe.

Drinkers flip them, spin them, tear them and scrawl phone numbers on them, while a small dedicated group of enthusiasts (called tegestologists, though others have less kind epithets) collect them.

In Ireland - where beer mat use is the world's highest at more than 50 per person per year - the familiar brands they contain, such as Guinness and Jameson whiskey, mean that tourists pocket them as a souvenir.

With the steady flow of trucks and the whirr of machinery in the background, nothing seems amiss at the group's main factory. Except that these are days shrouded with uncertainty, with the firm's beer mat making business having gone into administration.

It is difficult to see how this could happen at a company that has a 75% share of the estimated 5.5 billion beer mats - or coasters as they are known in the US and Australia - made globally last year.

Indeed, the Weisenbach factory alone - which takes in the logs and turns them to pulp before producing lightweight, highly absorbent board which it prints, cuts and packages - can make more than 12 million of what they call in Germany, Bierdeckel, every day.

But while they may have a fond place in people's hearts, ultimately the beer mat is just another advertising tool. And the economic climate "has not helped" Katz's position, says group chief executive Garry Hobson, citing trends in the brewing and pub industries as denting demand.

Declining beer sales, as people opt to drink at home, have led to fewer orders while the closure of pubs (especially in the UK where some estimates put the rate of demise at five a day) mean there are fewer venues for beer mats to be used.

And the trends among brewers to merge and create even bigger global giants (for example SAB and Miller, the Heineken, Carlsberg and Scottish & Newcastle agreement and Budweiser's deal with Anheuser-Busch) have seen a fall in overall advertising spending, Mr Hobson says.

"A few years ago there were 10 main brewers worldwide, but the round after round of consolidation there are just five. And even though the most dramatic deals have now been done, we have felt the impact of the shake-ups in the companies and of the people who would see the beer mat as part of their advertising."

These challenges, plus problems getting access to cash and some needs to "restructure" have left the firm desperately trying to find new investors.

Orders are still coming in and being met, with Katz's administrators confident it can be rescued as a going concern. And at its sales commercial offices in the UK and Belgium, which are not subject to the administration proceedings, it is, the firm says, "business as usual".

But around the Weisenbach factory floor - from the wood pulping room to the printing section - the 150 staff seem anxious about the future.

Katz has another factory in Grosschirma, near Dresden, and the potential for any new investors wanting to cut costs cannot be ignored, says Mr Hobson, a Yorkshireman, who has made this pocket of Germany, close to the spa town of Baden-Baden, his home.

The group already have a number of small sidelines - though one of them, the manufacture of branded ashtrays in the UK, fell by the wayside a few years back after laws limiting tobacco advertising were introduced, followed by the smoking ban. However those "mock wood" circular discs found in a packets of supermarket-bought Camembert are made here, as are the thin sheets of board found at the back of some wardrobes.

But the firm needs to look at revitalising its main business, says Mr Hobson, who insists the beer mat is "undervalued" by both existing and potential customers.

While the product is perhaps more associated with the smell of stale ale, the corridor leading to his office - the walls of which are lined with products made for brands from China to the Czech Republic - has a hint of the aroma of fresh wood shavings and sawdust.

Picking up the dice from the a chrome-plated Yatzee set on his desk, he rolls them before reaching for a display book of the firm's latest coasters. This is beermat 2.0 - the coaster that seems way too fancy to stack up and flip in a vain effort to impress girls.

There is shiny foil, ("to give a product a premium feel"), labels to peel off, wipe-clean coasters and mats which change appearance when rubbed against a hot hand or cold pint. Another, aimed at football fans, has incorporated face paint in the colours of the German flag.

Logos are not just for continental lagers and spirits, but feature the Real Madrid football team, a mobile phone company and the Belgian version of the Pepperami.

And it seems the days of simply having square or round cardboard are over, with mats shaped as hands, trophies and footballs.

Traditionalists may scoff, but Mr Hobson sees broadening the beer mat's reach as the way to tackle some of the industry's woes.

"A marketing tool can only be used if the end user has an affinity with it, and there's no doubt people have an affinity with the beer mat," he says.

"They pick it up, they play with it, they may not know they are doing it. They create games with it and they remember it. It's a part of the drinking culture."

A beer mat flipping competition at a trade event had been a big hit with brewers and marketers, who were taken "back to their student days", he adds.

With the well documented problems in the drinks trade, winning business from other industries is an essential part of a recovery plan, Mr Hobson says.

In the US, for example, where the firm has two businesses in New York state and Tennessee (both use the board made in Germany, though neither are subject to the administration proceedings) about 50% of its printing is for restaurants - which are using the mats to advertise special deals.

"People understand the product. They use it as an unobtrusive way of advertising and from the person in the bar's point of view, they see it as something that's always there," Mr Hobson says.

"But the perception of the coaster and the way it is used is quite traditional. Our responsibility, as market leaders is to bring innovation."

BEER MAT FACTS
The first wood pulp beer mat was made in 1892 by Robert Sputh of Dresden
They came to the UK in 1920, produced by the Watneys brewery, advertising its pale ale
Leo Pisker of Austria, has collected more than 150,000 different beer mats from 192 countries
Dean Gould of Felixstowe holds a host of beer mat world records including most flipped off a table, a bottle, a chin, and while blindfolded

2009-05-25
EUROPE FOR BEER.
The Campaign for Real Ale is celebrating the publication of the European Beer Consumers Union Manifesto, which calls upon the EU to:

* Preserve and promote Europe's beer and brewing heritage
* Support Europe's well-run pubs and bars
* Protect European beer consumers' rights!

CAMRA will be writing to European election candidates asking them to endorse this manifesto.

The European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU) was formed in Bruges in May 1990, and is now a federation of 13 European beer consumer organisations*.

EBCU currently has a combined membership of over 120,000 members, with the common aim of representing the interests and views of beer consumers across Europe. Beer is the national drink of many member states in the EU, with beer being brewed in Europe for many thousands of years.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, speaking at the release of the publication, said:

In the UK, responsible pub-goers have been penalised by a 20% increase in beer duty since the start of 2008, therefore CAMRA wholeheartedly backs EBCU's idea of lower excise duty on beer sold in pubs.'

Benner continued:

Beer is a product that generates billions of euros and pounds each year in tax revenue, and the beer and brewing industry's value to the European economy is truly significant- the industry contributes a staggering 57.5 billion euros annually!'

Other points contained in the manifesto include an equal treatment for beer in relation to wine, and raising the awareness of beer as a natural agricultural product. One of the objectives looks to emphasise the need for greater parity in relation to financial support for malting barley and hop growers compared to their wine industry equivalent.

The manifesto also stresses the need for the EU to review its strategy on reducing alcohol-related harm. Benner concluded:

There needs to be a greater awareness that the responsible consumption of alcohol in well-run, licensed premises reduces the risk of alcohol misuse, and subsequent social disorder. What this ground-breaking manifesto re-iterates in a similar fashion to past CAMRA campaigns is that beer is inextricably linked with our past, and we should be proud of our rich European brewing heritage.'

2009-05-14
NO COMPETITION.
An urgent probe of the pub industry is needed amid fears that ties between pub companies and licensees are forcing up prices for customers, MPs have said.

Pub firms compelling tenants to buy drinks from them should be "severely limited", the Business and Enterprise Select Committee added. The practice, known as the beer tie, led to an "ever-increasing disparity" between pubs and shop prices they said, and the The Competition Commission should look at the matter.

"There... are strong indications that the existence of the tie pushes up prices for consumers," the MPs said.

They added they were "surprised and disappointed" that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) had been reluctant look again at beer tie's impact since a 2004 study.

Pub firms argue that they need to have some hold over the running of their pubs, so that they can make a profit. However, there have been claims that firms are using their strong position to impose high rents but are failing to pass on the discounts they get on beer to tenants.

"The failure of the pubcos to pass on the benefit of their discounts to the lessees prevents the lessees from passing on the benefit to the consumer in terms of reduced prices," the report said. The wide disparity between beer prices in pubs and off-licences and supermarkets were undermining the viability of many pubs, the MPs added.

The report stated this meant tenants were being forced to hike prices, which encouraged the trend towards drinking at home. t also found that an average of 39 pubs closed every week in 2008, compared with eight in 2004.

There were other pressures on pubs, such as changing consumer preferences and recession, the MPs acknowledged. But they said: "It is to the overall detriment of the consumer if pubs are forced to close due to uncompetitive practices in the market."

The MPs also criticised pub firms selling sites with restrictive clauses stating that they should no longer be used as pubs.

"We believe it is for the market to decide whether a pub is unviable and not for a pubco to restrict a building's use," it said. "Our inquiry found alarming evidence indicating there may be serious problems caused by the dominance of the large pub companies," added committee chairman Peter Luff.

He challenged pub firms to demonstrate the benefits of the tie, by allowing tenants the opportunity to run their pubs without the tie obligation. Mr Luff said that doing away with the tie completely may give too much power to the brewers and wholesalers, but called for severe restrictions on the practice.

"Some might argue that this can be left to the market. Pubcos which not only benefit themselves but support their lessees are likely to stay in business," he said. "If pubcos push too hard and are too greedy they will fail. But on the way, bad companies will inflict real damage on their direct customers, the lessees, and on their indirect customers, ordinary drinkers."

2009-05-07
SMALL RELIEF.
Following an energetic Private Members' Bill campaign by Peter Luff MP, supported by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the Government has announced that they will look to make payment of Small Business Rate Relief in England automatic. Half of small businesses, including many small community pubs, are missing out on up to 1,200 of rate relief every year.

CAMRA's Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Jonathan Mail, said:

"Commitment by the Government to look at automatic payment of Small Business Rate Relief moves us one step closer towards ensuring all small businesses, including small community pubs, receive the financial help to which they are entitled. Nearly 6 pubs a day are closing and many of these are small community pubs that would be helped by automatic payment of Small Business Rate Relief, worth up to 1,200 every year."

FSB National Chairman, John Wright, said:

"Around 400 million goes unclaimed every year by those small businesses that don't know they can claim rate relief. Making it automatic will mean all the difference to small firms who may be struggling with their cash flow at this difficult economic time. This important issue was given a good airing in the debate today and we look forward to what we hope will be a commitment from the Government that rate relief will be automatic for small businesses in the Budget announcement".

2009-03-16
HOW LOW CAN YOU GO?
CAMRA is backing moves by the Scottish Government to prevent supermarkets selling alcohol at a loss. This move would support well-run community pubs that provide a safe and sociable environment for the consumption of alcohol.

CAMRA launched its campaign against the sale of alcohol at a loss back in January 2007 when research revealed that alcohol was being sold for less than the price of bottled water. Supermarket loss leaders have led to a dramatic widening of the price differential between on and off trade and are contributing to the closure of nearly 6 pubs a day.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive said:

"It is irresponsible and reckless for the major supermarkets to sell alcohol at below cost. A person who is addicted to alcohol is completely free to buy an enormous amount of alcohol at ridiculously low cost and then consume it, either at home or on the streets. It is well documented that irresponsible price promotions in the off trade are a major cause of binge drinking and alcohol related disorder."

"Well-run community pubs are being undermined as a result of unfair competition from the major supermarkets selling alcohol at below cost. Supermarkets are subsidising alcohol loss leaders by higher prices elsewhere in their stores which is not something a pub can do."

"Well-run community pubs abide by high standards which help encourage the sensible and responsible consumption of alcohol. These pubs are also at the heart of their communities providing an irreplaceable venue for socializing, sporting, community and charity activity."

2009-03-04
FOOD FOR THOUGHT.
CAMRA is celebrating after being named runner-up at the Good Housekeeping Food Awards, held at the Courtrooms in Covent Garden, London.

Thanks to a nomination by actress and food writer Jane Asher, and the views of Good Housekeeping's expert panel, CAMRA finished runner-up in the "Favourite Food Hero" category. Asher praised CAMRA for its hard work and was a strong advocate for the organization during the judging process, stating she'd been well aware of CAMRA's work for many years.

The Awards were hosted by chef Prue Leith, who heralded CAMRA for its dedicated campaigning:

"CAMRA has done fantastic work over the years, and with traditional pubs disappearing rapidly, there's no question that it has saved real ales from almost certain extinction."

Louise Ashworth, CAMRA Head of Marketing, was delighted to pick up the award:

"We were really surprised and excited to receive such strong support from Jane Asher and the other judges and to have been put forward for this award at Good Housekeeping magazine. It just shows that appreciation for real ale and support for pubs have a strong hold across many sections of society and that there is much genuine support for CAMRA's ideals. With a focus on natural ingredients and the traditional process of brewing, real ale is very much part of the real food revolution that is sweeping across the UK."

2009-02-26
BESTEST PUB IN THE WORLDE.
Winner: Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield, 62 Russell Street, S3 8RW. http://www.kelhamislandtavern.co.uk

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, announced that its National Pub of the Year for 2008 is the Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield.

The National Pub of the Year competition analyses all the criteria that makes a good pub including the quality of the beer, atmosphere, dcor, customer service, clientele mix and value for money.

The Kelham Island Tavern has been a CAMRA Sheffield Pub of the Year for the last four years, and was a past regional winner in both 2004 and 2007. The pub is also listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2009 bearing the following description:

"An impressive 10 permanent handpumps include two that always dispense a mild and a stout/porter, so you are sure to find something to quench your thirst. A visit in the warmer months enables you to sample the pub"s multi-award winning sub-tropical beer garden- a true gem."

Julian Hough, CAMRA"s Pubs Director and one of the final judges, said:

"The Kelham Island Tavern is a regular in the Good Beer Guide and has been treasured by pub-goers from Yorkshire and beyond since its opening in 2002. It truly is a pub for everyone, and its attention to detail is fantastic. To have won so many awards in such a short space of time, even enduring a disastrous flood in 2007, is a true testament to the dedication and commitment of its staff. The pub is a deserved winner, and a wonderful example of a well-run community pub."

On hearing of their success, Lewis Gonda, Pub Manager, said:

"We are absolutely overjoyed, this is fantastic news. We honestly never thought we"d get to this stage of the competition, and we are so proud to have won. This award is due to the excellent brewers we deal with, our faithful and supportive pub regulars, and our invaluable staff members."

Licensee Trevor Wraith bought the property in 2001 with the uphill task of turning a semi-derelict site with a damaged roof into an award-winning pub. After a number of repairs and a lot of hard work, the pub re-opened in March 2002. Trade boomed from day one thanks to a loyal community clientele, with the pub consistently successful in local CAMRA awards. In July 2007, the pub suffered horrendous flood damage to the pub floor and cellar, and was forced to close for 6 weeks. Trevor admits this closure was a blow, but not even he could predict the community"s positive support for the pub on its re-opening.

The National Pub of the Year runners-up:

Crown, Stockport, Greater Manchester, SK4 1AR. 0161 480 5850, thecrowninn.uk.com Greater Manchester

Local CAMRA Branch Pub of the Year 2008, the Crown is busy, especially in the evenings with a good choice of around 16 ever-changing beers.'

Tom Cobley Tavern, Spreyton, Devon, EX17 5AL. 01647 231314

Still riding high on the success of winning National CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2006, the pub still attracts visitors from all over the country.'

Royal Oak, Friday Street, Rusper, West Sussex, RH12 4QA. 01293 871393

Free house gem attracting locals and visitors from further afield offering even handpumps of ever-changing guest ales.'

2009-02-21
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER.
Oakham Brewery Attila Pump Clip Attila conquers all!

Oakham's Attila from Cambridgeshire was crowned the Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2009 by a panel of judges at the CAMRA National Winter Ales Festival in Manchester.

The 7.5% ABV barley wine is described by the brewer as having 'fruity notes and an elderflower aroma, with the taste of ripe red berries and citrus fruit and a long bitter fruity finish.'

Graham Donning, Festival Organiser, praised the winning beer for its accomplishment:

'This is a spectacular beer with a great following, and a deserved winner. There are few barley wines remaining in this country, and Attila is a wonderful example for anyone who is yet to try this rare beer style.'

Oakham's success came after 'Attila' won a gold medal in the Barley Wine category at the Dudley Winter Ales Festival back in November. Winning meant that the beer's place in the final was guaranteed.

John Bryan, Head Brewer of Oakham Brewery, was delighted at hearing the results:

'It's a great start to what might turn out to be an otherwise gloomy year. We've already found success with this beer at another event in 2009, so to win this award as well is fantastic for us. Each batch takes around 5-6 months, and this award shows it's time well-spent.'

Also in the Overall Awards, Silver medal went to Elland Brewery's 1872 Porter, whilst the Bronze medal went to Sarah Hughes's Dark Ruby.

A panel of CAMRA experts and leading beer writers judged the competition at the New Century Hall, Manchester. Drinkers at the National Winter Ales Festival were then able to sample the winning brews, as well as a formidable selection of over 200 different beers, including a range of ciders and perrys.

Reigning victorious at the Winter Ales Festival, Oakham's Attila will now be entered into the final of the Champion Beer Of Britain competition, taking place in August 2009 at the Great British Beer Festival, Earls Court, London.

2009-01-28
BREW YOUR OWN.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is offering consumers the chance to recreate some of Britain's best-loved beers and learn the historic art of brewing with Brew Your Own British Real Ale, a new CAMRA publication by Graham Wheeler.

Heralding the recent success of craft brewing in the UK, Wheeler's self-proclaimed 'recipe book' is a simple step by step guide to producing great beer, breaking down technical jargon to simplify the brewing experience for the reader.

Brew Your Own British Real Ale is a perennial favourite among real ale aficionados, and thanks in part to recent television documentaries such as Neil Morrissey's 'Risky Business', which have increased public interest in brewing real ale, there has never been a better time for a novice to learn their malt extract from their full-mash. Simon Hall, Managing Editor, CAMRA Books, said:

'With more small brewers in operation across the UK than at any other time since the Second World War, Brew Your Own British Real Ale is a fantastic insight into this thriving industry. Since the previous edition of the book there have been wholesale changes in the brewing field and this book seeks to address some of these recent developments.'

For ease of use, the book begins with a handful of basic brewing methods before targeting the staple ingredients of hops, yeast and water. Instructions are bullet-pointed and numbered, with the text divided up by simple diagrams. The actual recipes feature near the end of the text, with a vast array of brew types ranging from CAMRA Champion beers past and present, to a few unusual selections for avid home-brewers to emulate. Mr Hall continued:

'Home-brewing is very much a hobby, and an enjoyable one at that. But who's to say with the right attitude and commitment this book can't turn a hobby into a profession? Britain has over 650 brewers in operation at the moment, and there is always room in the market for innovation and variety.'

Brew Your Own British Real Ale will be available from January 14th, and can be bought directly from the CAMRA website at shop.camra.org.uk, as well from all good book stores. The book is priced at 12.99 for CAMRA members and 14.99 for non-members.

2009-01-06
THE FINAL RING PULL.
Beer consumer group, the Campaign for Real Ale has attacked the decision by Carlsberg UK to close the iconic Tetley Brewery in Leeds by 2011. CAMRA has criticised Carlsberg UK for failing to promote the famous Tetley beers at a time when consumer interest in real ales is growing.

Bob Stukins, CAMRA Vice Chairman and Director of Brewery Campaigning said, "It is unclear where Carlsberg UK intends to brew the famous Tetley beers which remain household names in the UK. Brewed outside their Leeds heartland I fear they would lack the provenance which today's discerning consumers expect. While we recognise the enormous challenges facing the brewing industry at present, I think this is a shortsighted decision. Recent statistics clearly show that real ale is performing better than other beer styles in a declining market. There is an opportunity to respond to this, invest in the Tetley brands and bring them back to glory."

The Intelligent Choice report published in September by CAMRA, Cask Marque, SIBA, the IFBB and Why Handpull shows that real ale sales are moving towards growth while the overall beer market has declined by 8% in the year to May 2008*.

CAMRA is calling on the Government to overturn its decision to increase beer duty over the next four years to give struggling breweries a chance to compete. The group claims that high beer tax is driving beer drinkers out of pubs and into their armchairs as the price gap between the on and off-trade widens.

Bob Stukins said, "The Government has a responsibility to act to save British jobs in brewing and pubs and an urgent review of beer tax is required."

CAMRA is seeking a meeting with Carlsberg UK bosses to discuss a way forward for the brewery. The brewery still produces Tetley's Dark Mild, Tetley's Mild, Best Bitter and the famous Tetley Bitter.

Mr Stukins added, "We have a two year window of opportunity before the brewery gates are set to close for the last time. We will be supporting anyone who has a plan to keep the mash tuns running in this historic brewery and we'll be looking at every possible option to save the brewery. Jobs and this iconic Yorkshire Brewery should not close due to the development potential of this city site"

Download the report.

2008-12-30
ARE YOU LOCALE?
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has announced that 22 CAMRA branches have signed up to the CAMRA LocAle' scheme since the national launch in July 2008.

The original LocAle' concept was created in 2007 by CAMRA's Nottingham branch. Following its success with around 80 pubs in Nottingham signing up to the scheme, CAMRA decided to build upon the growing consumer demand for local produce and an awareness of green' issues by converting LocAle' into a national campaign.

The idea of LocAle' is to encourage pubs to stock at least one locally-produced real ale with the aim to improve the local economy and knowledge for pub goers about which beers are brewed locally. It may also give business the edge over sections of the off-trade selling beer way below cost price.

Each participating CAMRA branch can decide upon their exact definition of a locally-produced real ale, as long as it falls between a 20-30 mile radius. This measurement is usually based on the shortest driving distance between a pub and its nearest brewery. However, others such as the CAMRA South Hertfordshire branch have sought to incorporate their county's best producers by classifying all Hertfordshire brewers as local'.

Tony Jerome, CAMRA's Senior Marketing Manager heralded the achievement of all local branches, and said: Bearing in mind the publicity material was only made available to CAMRA branches at the end of July, the current success of the scheme is a true testament to our members who are committed to seeing locally-sourced produce in their community pub and to pubs wanting to source locally brewed beers. Many branches have cited the benefit of localised spending in their area, and within the community there has been positive feedback from all quarters.'

The publicity material includes window stickers, leaflets and posters to show which pubs have officially signed up to the scheme, and pump-clip crowners are displayed at the bar to help inform consumers which beers have been brewed within the local area.

The 22 CAMRA branches to have signed up so far are:

Watford & District, Renfrewshire, Rotherham, Vale of Clwyd, Abercolwyn, South Cheshire, Huntingdonshire, Grantham, Kingston & Leatherhead, South Hertfordshire, Newark, Keighley & Craven, Herts & Essex Borders, Nottingham, Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead, Gwent, Erewash Valley, York, Barnsley, Lunesdale, North Oxfordshire and Sheffield.

Steve Westby, CAMRA Real Ale Campaigner of the Year 2008, and founder of the LocAle' scheme, said: It is great to see how what began as a protest against the domination of Nottingham pubs by global beer brands can so easily be transferred into a positive national scheme, especially at a time when communities are being threatened by economic turmoil. The majority of people in this country strive to retain their local identity, with LocAle' playing a perfect accompaniment to this fight.'

But as many branches have reported, the ability of some pubs in joining the scheme has been hindered by their relationship to a pub company. Both the Grantham and Newark branches of CAMRA noted how tied pubs in their areas, although enthusiastic about the scheme, could not sign up due to either a restricted beer portfolio or a simple inability to commit themselves because of external pressures. Nevertheless, there have been branches, which, in some cases, have signed up almost 20% of their local pubs.

Jerome concluded: To have over 20 CAMRA branches signed up to the scheme in such a small amount of time is truly an outstanding achievement, and if the LocAle' runs its natural course over the next 5 years, we could see a healthy proportion of the nation's 58,000 pubs getting involved.'

2008-12-06
HOUSES OF BEER
Beer Consumer group, the Campaign for Real Ale has warmly welcomed the publication last month of the Community Pub Inquiry, following over two years of investigation by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group.

Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said: "Following an in-depth review of the issues and challenges facing Britain's valued community pubs, the APPBG delivers its recommendations to Government this morning. I am delighted that these focus on urging Government to provide better support for community pubs including an urgent review of price differentials between pubs and supermarkets and the role of excise duty, rewarding pubs for community contribution through rate relief and that planning loopholes which lead to unnecessary pub closures are closed. The report calls upon the Government to champion community pubs as small businesses and essential community amenities."

In its evidence to the inquiry, CAMRA suggested a reduced rate of duty and/or VAT on draught beer and is delighted to see this recommended to the government by the APPBG today.

Mr Benner continued: "A cut in tax on draught beer would reduce the price gap between pubs and supermarkets leading to more people enjoying a drink in the regulated environment of the community pub and not at home or in the street."

The report urges the Government to add its weight to CAMRA's Public House Viability Test, endorsing it as good practice guidance for local authorities in examining applications for change of use of pubs. With 36 pubs closing every week, CAMRA is keen to ensure viable pubs are not closed unnecessarily.

Mr Benner added: "The report is a big step forward and has many positive suggestions for Government. I hope it will be the catalyst for a change in approach, which struggling community pubs so desperately need."

2008-11-25
FINDING THE PUB.
The Lord Nelson pub in Holton, in Suffolk, is plastered in 'for sale' signs. The paint is peeling from the white brickwork, and the portrait of the Admiral on the sign is fading away. There used to be two pubs in Holton, a village of around 1,100 people. The first closed four years ago, and the Lord Nelson shut down just a few months ago. "It's such a shame. The village is stagnant now," says Bobby Manning, once a regular. "If you walk through that road half a dozen times I don't think you'll see anybody." Mike Game, a local builder in his fifties, echoes the sentiment. "I first went in that pub when I was three years old," he says. "I don't even like to drive past it now".

The loss of the Nelson is keenly felt by those who drank, ate and shared local gossip there. But it goes beyond that. "It was a post office as well," adds Tony Rust, a civil engineer from Newcastle who moved here fifteen years ago. "It was there for the elderly to get their pensions and other things Post Offices do. It was also somewhere where they could sit down and have a cup of coffee. But now they've lost that facility as well."

Driving around the windy lanes of Suffolk you see a lot of pubs that have gone under. On the way to Holton, I passed two that were boarded up and another two that were advertising for new managers.

The former landlord at the Lord Nelson, Paul Shenton, says it's no surprise that others are struggling too. "It was the hub of the community, but towards the end it became hard work for very little return," he said. "The best we did was 160 beer barrels per annum, but towards the end it was 80. "When we started, 15 years ago, there was no food. By the end it was 45% of turnover. We were in the Good Beer Guide throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and in the Good Food Guide. But it wasn't enough. The old boys who came in and used the pub died off, one by one, and no-one replaced them. On week nights we were twiddling our thumbs until nine or ten o'clock. You can't run a pub on just Friday nights and Sunday lunches."

Mr Shenton puts it down to a cultural and economic shift: villagers are now happy to stay at home watching DVDs and enjoying cheap drink from the supermarket. Last month, the Commons all-party beer group suggested countering this by reducing taxes on draught beer - at present a third of the price - or introducing a minimum price for alcohol, to stop supermarkets selling it as a loss-leader. It said pubs were closing at an 'astonishing' rate of 36 a week.

Others lay the blame at the pub operating companies, for forcing their tenant-landlords to buy beer exclusively from them - at allegedly inflated prices. A select committee inquiry into this began last week.

"The government needs to wake up to the importance of the pub," says Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland. "Instead of regarding them as businesses which can go to the wall we need to look at changing planning law to enshrine the pub. Whenever a pub is proposed to go to a different use, be closed or demolished, the local community needs to be consulted. At the end of the day, who owns the pub? Legally it's the pub operating company or the landlord. But morally, surely, a community, a village owns a pub that's been there for hundreds of years."

The Lord Nelson was owned by Admiral Taverns, a company that owns 2,400 pubs in England and Wales - and recently put 100 up for sale. In a statement, it said the Nelson was 'unviable' but insisted that village pubs have a rosy future. "Traditional rural pubs that are at the heart of their communities, with good, motivated licensees satisfying their customers' needs, will not only survive, but thrive," it said.

Others are less sanguine. Hamish Stoddart is co-founder of Peach Pubs, a small company that turns around rundown pubs. "We tend to look for slightly bigger pubs where you can have a team of chefs. The smaller ones need to be good enough to know 1,000 people who will use them every month. I suspect many will go - and I'd actually like to see that because the difficult thing is people trying to live their dreams by running their own pubs, and a lot get sucked into running an uneconomic pub in the wrong place."

This, it seems, is what happened to Paul Shenton. "I was very proud when I became a publican. It's all I ever wanted to do," he says. "But now I would not go back into the business."

2008-11-08
CLUB OF THE YEAR
A thriving football supporters club, renowned for its commitment to serving a diverse range of cask-conditioned ale, has been named the joint CAMRA Club of the Year 2008.

The Leyton Orient Supporters Club, on Brisbane Road, London, E10, has been situated in the West Stand of the League One football stadium since the redevelopment of the ground in 2006. CAMRA found one of the most outstanding aspects of the Club was that although the football club had an average attendance of just under 5,000 people throughout the 2007-2008 season, the Supporters Club could boast more than 1,300 members during the same period.

Every one of CAMRA's 200 branches was asked to put forward a submission for the Club of the Year award, with the criteria based upon the availability of the club's membership to the general public, and the consistently high standard of the real ale served. The Leyton Orient Supporters Club, joint winner with the Appleton Thorn Village Hall, Cheshire, pipped a whole host of working men's, social and community clubs to the award for its devotion to improving the match-day sporting experience for supporters. As one avid supporter noted: The Club is quite simply a great example of how real ale can really work when done well and shows that football fans shouldn't have to put up with the poor quality of hospitality and bland lager when they support their teams.'

Speaking of his delight for the Club winning the award, Mike Childs, Supporters Club Bar Manager, said: We have gone to great lengths to stock cask-conditioned ale, and on a busy match-day we can sell in excess of 700 pints. This award is really a tribute to our devoted staff members, who do all they can to provide supporters with the best quality and variety.'

With five hand-pumps serving ever-changing guest ales, and real cider available, supporters and guests alike are spoilt for choice. The Club has been a consistent winner of the CAMRA East London Club of the Year Award over the past few years, with national recognition now accompanying the Club's already formidable reputation.

Steve Williams, CAMRA Regional Director for Greater London, praised the Club for its services to real ale. He said: To find real ale at a football club, regardless of its condition, is truly rare. Therefore for the Leyton Orient Supporters Club to show this degree of devotion to our national drink is totally unique. When you consider the vast numbers of football fans being converted to real ale it is a true testament to this club's efforts. A worthy winner and an unlikely source of quality real ale.'

2008-11-06
I FOUGHT THE LAW - AND WON!
Hazel Blears, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has invited councils to opt in' to a radical new law - the Sustainable Communities Act. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is leading a national coalition of organisations, ranging from the Association of Chief Police Officers to the Womens' Institute, who have written to the leaders and chief executives of every council in England, asking them to seize this opportunity.

The Act enables councils and their communities working co-operatively to get government help to assist them in reversing the decline of services and amenities such as local pubs, post offices and bus services, but also on dealing with fuel poverty, protecting the environment and obtaining greater involvement in civic activity. Government then has a legal duty to reach agreement with councils on how it will help them.

Originally a Private Members Bill introduced by a cross-party coalition of MPs led by Nick Hurd MP, the Act became law last November with full support from the Government and the Conservative and Liberal Democrat front benches. In the Commons third reading debate, then local government minister Phil Woolas described it as one of the most significant Private Members' Bills of the past 40 years and said it could change the face of British politics.

Welcoming Hazel Blears' invitation to councils, CAMRA's Chief Executive, Mike Benner said:

"The Sustainable Communities Act could not have come at a more crucial time. The global economic downturn will hit pubs and brewers hard and also have a huge impact on our local communities. Local high streets are likely to be decimated as outlets are forced to close. CAMRA has brought together a huge coalition of very diverse citizen organisations who all want one thing - thriving and prosperous communities.

"If local communities are to weather this storm, they will need far more autonomy than they currently have. Local people are the experts on the problems of their areas and the solutions to them. Yet currently they are at the complete mercy of the global stock exchange. The Sustainable Communities Act will give real power to local people to protect and revive their areas."

2008-11-05
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
CAMRA has commended retailers great and small in their unfailing support for stocking real ale in a bottle, and awarded three bottled beer retailers for it at its annual awards lunch at Lord's Cricket Ground, London.

As part of its RAIB (Real Ale in a Bottle) Scheme, CAMRA welcomed entrants from all sectors of the retail industry in the hope of locating the forerunning stockists of bottle-conditioned real ale, as well as inviting those who have gone to considerable lengths to increase its profile within the industry. Entrants were judged on their range of products, their unique sales methods, value for money to the consumer, and the attitude of their staff in striving to promote bottle-conditioned real ale.

After a May deadline for Awards entrants, a team of dedicated CAMRA judges have been busy surveying the applications, and the team was impressed by the high standards and attention to detail of many retailers.

The winners of the three categories were -

* Large Retailer (more than 5 outlets) - Booths Supermarkets
* Small Retailer (less than 5 outlets) - The Offie, Leicester
* Mail Order/Online Retailer - The Real Ale Shop

Brett Laniosh, CAMRA's Promotions and Marketing Director, said- It was great to view the lengths many outlets are going to in order to promote Britain's national drink. Whether it was through friendly customer service or an imaginative marketing scheme, every entrant showed a laudable amount of creativity and attention to detail.

Large Retailer: Booths, a small supermarket chain of twenty-six stores across four counties, was described by the judging committee as "the epitome of what a multi site retailer should be doing to promote real ale. A good range of real ales even in the smaller outlets. They even use local radio to promote beer tastings."

Small Retailer: The Offie, a Leicester based, multi-award winning outlet and advisor to the national media, was singled out for its unparalleled commitment to stocking rare brews. Judges reported how "The Offie may be small, but in terms of real ales offered, it is second to none. A wonderful grotto of bottled real ales featuring beers from all over the UK and beyond. The staff are welcoming and keen to offer advice and discuss the bottled real ale."

Finally, The Real Ale Shop, an extension of the Priory Farm in Wrentham, Suffolk, was hailed for its devotion to local produce, and its excellent mail order service. Judges praised the Shop for having a great website that gets straight to the beer. It (the Shop) does a great job in promoting localism through its trailblazer beers featuring bottled real ales from Norfolk and Suffolk."

Laniosh continues- Stocking bottle-conditioned real ale is something that truly appeals to the consumer. Research has shown how many people desire locally-sourced produce brewed using traditional methods, therefore we at CAMRA are delighted to recognize retailers who stock this sort of quality in their outlets.'

2008-10-30
THE COLOUR OF BEER.
Green beer. Blue beer. Beer with the frothy 'head' in the middle of the glass, rather than at the top. Beer which emits light. For Barry Axcell, chief brewer at the world's third-largest brewer, SABMiller, these are some of the more outlandish concepts he has helped design. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, none have yet made it behind the bar or onto the supermarket shelves.

"We've done lots of things which are technically very possible," Mr Axcell says. "You can have an idea but if the market is not ready for it then it can just sit on hold for years and years or be shelved completely."

But finding successful innovation in the mature UK beer market is proving tough. Cider has been seen as the more innovative drinks sector - with the "over ice" concept pioneered by Magners giving it a sharp, if short-lived, sales surge.

Overall UK beer sales are falling, with about 161 million fewer pints sold in pubs between July and September compared with the same period a year ago, a fall of 8.1%, according to the British Beer and Pub Association. Beer sales in supermarkets and off-licences fell 6% over the same period.

The gloomy figures are partly being put down to drinkers' worries over whether they can afford a pint or two. But it is a climate in which firms say they have to keep developing new products and, some argue, gimmicks, to win customers.

"Beer comes with a lot of heritage and tradition so to innovate successfully, you need a functional beer with a functional benefit - one that has got to deliver something for the customer. If you play in that area then there's a corridor of safety. If you go a long way from that then you risk alienating the majority of drinkers."

Also no stranger to innovation is Guinness, which introduced widgets to cans in the late 1980s and 10 years ago launched its Extra Cold variety. Now it is trialling Guinness Red - which it says is lighter in colour and taste than the traditional black stuff. The brew is aimed at those who like the brand but only drink it rarely - perhaps while watching sport or on St Patrick's Day. And like most extensions of a brand, the plan of Guinness owner Diageo is to steal market share from rival brewers.

"In the present climate it's the best time to be innovating - so long as you give customers what you want," says Guinness UK brand manager, John Roscoe. Innovating is difficult but the worst thing you can do right now is batten down the hatches."

Early sales indications have been promising, Mr Roscoe adds, with more than half of those who have tried the beer making repeat purchases and only 10-20% of sales being cannibalised from other Guinness brands.

Probably the most heavily marketed innovation of 2008 has come from Heineken-owned Scottish & Newcastle (S&N)- which put a widget in cans of Fosters and Kronenbourg 1664 - the first time this has been done for lager. Costing up to 1 more per four-pack than their parent varieties, Kronenbourg Dynamo Systeme and Fosters In-Can Scuba have "exceeded expectations" since it launched in June, S&N says. But Christmas - a time when customers traditionally stock up on alcohol to drink at home - will be a crucial gauge of whether it has taken off, and if it is heavily eating into sales of regular Fosters and Kronenbourg 1664.

Back in South Africa, SABMiller's Barry Axcell says that most innovation in the beer market has continued to come from packaging. But as for the contents he admits that - for all his attempts to play with the colour and appearance of beer - his ultimate career ambition does not lie in anything too unusual.

2008-10-25
SOP - SAVE OUR PUBS
At the launch of the Good Beer Guide 2009, CAMRA is calling on the Government to introduce measures to prevent supermarkets selling alcohol as a loss leader. In response to this week's announcement that 36 pubs are closing every week, with a gloomy outlook for many more British pubs, the consumer group is urging the Government to introduce minimum pricing to reduce the gap between supermarket and pub prices.

Cheap beer in supermarkets - often sold at less than the price of bottled water - is killing the British pub, says CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2009 Editor Roger Protz as he launched the 2009 edition. Over 150 pubs a month are closing Protz said. And the main reason is simple: people are abandoning their locals because they can buy cheap supermarket beer at a fraction of the price charged by pubs.

CAMRA claims that well-run community pubs provide a perfect environment for adults to enjoy alcohol responsibly, but as small businesses, they are unable to absorb tax and cost increases and cannot demand the wholesale discounts enjoyed by supermarkets. Pubs are no longer able to compete on a level playing field.

Industry statistics show that off-trade beer prices have fallen by 1% in the last year, while pub prices have increased by around 4.4%. Since 2002 Off-trade beer prices have fallen by 7% while pub prices have increased by 24%.

As a result of the 10% beer tax increase in this year's Budget, prices in pubs have increased by 4.4% in the last year and the average price of a pint of lager in a pub is now 2.82. In contrast, prices in the off trade have fallen by a further 1% as a result of huge price promotions. The Great British Pub is being targeted by ruthless off trade discounting that is resulting in falling pub visits and record pub closures.

CAMRA believes Government action is required to help pubs as they are the best place to enjoy alcohol responsibly in a regulated and socially controlled environment.

In a recent CAMRA pricing survey, research found drastically low figures in the off-trade with mainstream global lager bands on sale for as little as 57 pence a pint.

Examples of price deals found in supermarkets in September 2008:

* Sainsbury's: Foster's lager - 3 cases of 440ml cans (cases of 15) for 20. That's the equivalent of 57.4 pence per pint.
* Asda: John Smith's Smooth Bitter - 3 cases of 440ml cans (cases of 15) for 20. That's also the equivalent of 57.4 pence per pint.
* Morrison's: 24 cans of 440ml Stella Artois lager for 15.47. That's the equivalent of 77.9 pence per pint.
* Lidl: 8 cans of 440ml Carlsberg lager for 4.49. That's the equivalent of 56.9 pence per pint.

Mr Protz commented: When a pub closes the community's heart is ripped out and dies. It's a particular problem in rural areas, where the village pub is the heart of the community. People go to pubs for friendship, conversation, to enjoy an affordable meal, or just quietly read a newspaper.

And pubs are regulated licensed premises. Publicans who permit bad behaviour such as heavy drinking will lose their licences. Supermarkets face no such restraints. They have no idea what happens to cheap alcohol once it leaves their stores. In too many cases, it's passed on to under-age drinkers. It's the supermarkets, not pubs, that encourage binge drinking, with their massively discounted sales of alcohol.

Roger Protz describes the relationship between big brewers and supermarkets as, the economics of the mad house. Coors, the American giant that now owns the former Bass breweries in Britain, has seen its profits halve in recent years - mainly as a result of the deep discounts demanded by the retailers.

One solution is for England and Wales to follow the example of the Scottish government and consider a minimum pricing policy for alcohol sold in the off-trade. Urgent action is needed to help save that great British institution - your friendly, neighbourhood local.

2008-10-08
OVER AND STOUT.
The Irish have long had strong links with their traditional pubs. With an estimated 200 bars a year closing in Ireland, is the country's love affair with the pub coming to a bitter end? Some believe the traditional Irish pub is an endangered species, and the credit crunch is now placing it in greater jeopardy. That's the sad conclusion of a travel writer who has just completed one of the longest pub crawls in Irish history.

The author Turtle Bunbury went to all 32 counties in Ireland, and visited more than 700 pubs. Although he couldn't manage a pint in every one, he got a real taste of Irish pub culture in the new millennium. "It's an endangered species - the traditional old-style Irish pub," he says. "A lot of the ones which have closed are the ones in the middle of nowhere, and they're the ones where actually the best craic was probably found in days of old. So in the country, the Irish pub is struggling."

According to figures from the Licensed Vintners' Association and the Vintners' Federation of Ireland, 1,500 pubs have closed since 2001. The future looks pretty gloomy too. The Republic of Ireland is officially in recession, and as prices go up, disposable incomes come down. It's a sobering thought.

However, the problems afflicting traditional Irish pubs cannot be blamed on the credit crunch. They began during the economic boom years, when Ireland's economy was so strong it was nicknamed the "Celtic Tiger".

Some believe there has been a cultural change within Irish society with people becoming increasingly selfish rather than sociable, and more interested in saving money than drinking beer. As Mr Bunbury put it: "The inclination to go off and sit down in a pub and drink 15 pints over the course of a day doesn't sit easily with making a fortune."

Stricter drink-driving laws and the smoking ban haven't help the booze trade. Not just in Ireland, but in parts of the UK, there is an increasing tendency to drink at home rather than in a bar. As the credit crunch saying goes: "Staying in is the new going out." You can still smoke at home, supermarket alcohol is cheaper and if you can't afford a taxi, there is always the couch.

This is the sort of social life that haunts publicans like Ger Clancy. His family has been running Clancy's pub on the main street of Athy in County Kildare since before World War II. The riverside market town is an hour's drive south of Dublin. It used to have more than 40 pubs, now it has just 16. Mr Clancy says:

"Years ago, you could open the door and expect people just to come in. Not any more. Customers are a bit more demanding than they used to be. And they have reason to be more demanding, because they're paying more for their pint. It's expensive. And therefore you have to give them value for money. You have to go that extra mile for them."

A few publicans are literally going the extra mile, by buying large vehicles - people carriers - to ferry customers to and from the pub.

After his nationwide tour of the country for his book The Irish Pub, Mr Bunbury is in favour of a community bus scheme in isolated, rural areas. "It would take people to and from the pub - maybe not every night, but some nights. And maybe a tax-free bus that the publican himself runs."

Speaking of taxes, publicans believe they already pay too much on alcohol and they'll be hiding behind the sofa fearing the worst when Ireland's Finance Minister Brian Lenihan announces his budget next week. Whatever happens, the pub trade is bracing itself for a tough winter. Tourists to Ireland may find fewer pubs, and dearer beer. Even so, there is still plenty of alcohol to be found around the country. Those who arrive with a thirst are unlikely to leave unquenched.

2008-10-01
TILL DEATH US DO PART.
Publican in coffin hunger strike

A pub landlord from Kent is staging a hunger strike in a coffin to highlight the "exorbitant" charges he claims are killing the pub trade.

Colm Powell, 44, who faces losing the lease to three pubs in Tonbridge, blames the company that owns them for increasing rent and beer prices. Enterprise Inns, which has obtained permission to end his lease, said he broke conditions set out in agreements. Mr Powell, from Dublin, said he was "prepared to die" for his cause. To highlight his plight, he has been lying in an oak coffin at the Punch and Judy, which won Kent Pub of the Year in 1996.

Enterprise Inns was granted possession of the business, along with Mr Powell's other two pubs in Tonbridge, at a court hearing last week. In a statement it said: "We understand a separate unsuccessful business venture unrelated to Enterprise Inns may have contributed to Mr Powell's difficulties. That said, we have sought to help Mr Powell with deferred payment terms, special discounts, a late licence application and a permanent rent reduction. Despite this help, Mr Powell continued to breach the terms of his agreements, eventually leaving us with no alternative but to seek possession of the pubs involved."

Mr Powell, who has set up a website where people can sign a "book of condolence", said he enjoyed a successful career as a landlord for more than 15 years until Enterprise Inns bought the pubs from Whitbread five years ago.

The 44-year-old, who is also tenant at the Ivy House and Station House, said: "What is happening to the pub industry is like what happened to farmers when foot-and-mouth came along. Our industry is being driven by greedy people while landlords live on the breadline."

The hunger strike, which began on Monday, is planned to continue until 8 October when he is due to be served with an eviction notice by Enterprise Inns, he said.

In an open letter to Enterprise Inns, Mr Powell said he was taking what he considered to be the last action open to him. He wrote: "The pub trade has changed for the worse since companies such as yours have got involved in it. There's the exorbitant rent and the steep mark-up on tied beers, which take at least 55% of my potential profit out of the business."

Enterprise Inns owns more than 7,000 pubs in England and Wales.

2008-09-25
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BEER.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has pledged to support an initiative that could see the Coors Visitor Centre in Burton, closed at the end of June, transformed into a National Brewing Museum. CAMRA has given full backing to the steering group, led by Burton MP Janet Dean, which is proposing the move, and will donate much of the proceeds of the 29th Burton Beer Festival (18th-20th September) to the Museum once it has re-opened.

The centre has been in existence since 1977, having formerly been the Bass Brewery Museum. Whilst Coors have closed the premises, they have agreed to keep everything in place if funding can be found by the end of the year.

CAMRA is encouraging all brewers and pub companies to consider the benefits of a museum celebrating the rich heritage of their industry. A National Museum built on an historical brewing landmark could provide what Culture Minister Gerry Sutcliffe recently described as a potential public front door for the brewing industry.'

Nik Antona, CAMRA Regional Director, said- Now that we have promised to deliver a substantial donation to the project pending the success of the 2008 Burton Beer Festival, it is hoped big brewers and pub companies will see the logic in joining in and supporting the establishment of a National Brewing Museum. Renowned brewing nations such as Belgium, Poland and Denmark all have brewing museums, the Czech Republic even has two, therefore how can we sit alongside these revered nations without a monument of our own?'

With an estimated annual deficit of around 300,000, the initiative has already received a 200,000 backing from Coors for the first year of opening, with 100,000 pledged for the following years. Coupled with a significant donation by CAMRA, and anticipated support from Britain's big brewers, it is hoped the plan can become a reality before the end of the year.

Antona continues- There have been many brewers rumoured to be considering support for the plans, and I think it must be stressed that this Museum will celebrate the history of British brewing as a whole, and not just Bass and Coors as some have suggested. Burton has been immortalised throughout history as Britain's brewing capital, and we hope to contribute to a local economy that has traditionally thrived thanks to real ale and beer.'

2008-09-05
SAVE OUR ALE.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has responded to the news that Cains Beer Company has been placed in administration with a pledge to support a buyer who will keep the historic Liverpool brewery in production.

The brewer had a stand at the Great British Beer Festival, where its beers, including IPA, Raisin Beer and 2008 Culture Beer, brewed to celebrate Liverpool as the European City of Culture, proved to be popular with Festival visitors.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive, said, Beer drinkers in Liverpool should not lose out because of the credit crunch and we will support any company that puts forward a rescue plan for the ailing brewer to ensure great beer continues to be brewed at the Stanhope Street Brewery. We hope that the Cains stand at the Great British Beer Festival won't be the last stand' for Cains' beers.

2008-08-29
A BEER A DAY.
Few industries to do more to preserve our heritage, honour our illustrious forebears and foster a sense of community than the brewing industry (A Beer a Day author, Jeff Evans)

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is launching A Beer a Day by offering both real ale aficionados and novices an opportunity to complement every day with an expert beer recommendation.

Not content with the simple association of light-coloured beer in summer and dark-coloured in winter, CAMRA, through A Beer a Day, is hoping to show consumers that drinking beer has significance for us all. Whether this is through cultural change, historic figures, or national landmarks, the publication offers an informative, light-hearted approach when commemorating the diverse and somewhat unusual events in world affairs.

Looking for once behind the beer pump clips and labels, A Beer a Day is arranged in calendar format, with a major event, season, or other commemoration featured on each day, together with an appropriate beer for the occasion.

Author Jeff Evans says A Beer a Day is not just a catalogue of great beers: it is a celebration of high days, holidays and the otherwise gentle passing of the seasons as seen through the eyes of world's greatest brewers. Major anniversaries, religious feasts and important birthdays come under the spotlight, along with commemorations, carnivals and some even more eccentric events.'

'This book has been great fun to research. It's amazing how the brewing industry keeps alive traditions and customs, and rightly celebrates famous and not-so-famous people who have been great achievers. You could say that there's almost a story for every beer and a beer for every story, and being able to look behind the label adds so much extra enjoyment to already great beers.'

The majority of the beers featured in the book are attainable from supermarkets, off-licences, online stores, and straight from the cask at selected pubs throughout the UK. The more elusive brews reflect the theme of the book- to encourage the wider distribution of fine beers.

The book will be available to purchase at the Great British Beer Festival, as well as from all good book stores. The book can be bought directly from the CAMRA website at www.camra.org.uk, priced at 14.99 for CAMRA members, and 16.99 for non-members.

2008-08-20
BEER OF BRITAIN.
Alton's Pride is named Champion Beer of Britain 2008 at the Great British Beer Festival

The Great British Beer Festival
Tuesday 5th - Saturday 9th August, Earls Court, London
www.camra.org.uk/gbbfmedia

Alton's Pride brewed by Triple fff Brewery in Hampshire was judged to be the best beer in Britain by a panel of brewers, beer writers and journalists.

Alton's Pride, which has an ABV of 3.8%, is described in the 2008 edition of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide as, Clean-tasting, golden brown beer, full-bodied for its strength with an aroma of floral hops. An initial malty flavour fades as citrus notes and hoppiness take over, leading to a hoppy, bitter finish.

The Hampshire brewed beer was chosen as the overall winner from over sixty finalists in seven categories (Best Bitters, Bitters, Golden Ales, Milds, Speciality, Winter Beer and Strong Bitters) including beers from tiny micros to major regional brewers.

Roger Protz, one of the finalist judges and Editor of the Good Beer Guide said, A magnificent victory for a craft brewery that opened in 1997 with a five barrel plant and has just opened a new brewhouse with a 50 barrel kit. It has grown due to consumer demand for its rich and complex beer and proves that the future for real ale in Britain is assured.

Graham Trott, Head Brewer of Triple fff Brewery said, We are over the moon and delighted to put Alton as a brewery back on the map. I would like to thank everyone who is connected with the brewery and we look forward to more people enjoying our winning beer.

The Silver award went to Black Dog Freddy from Beckstones (Cumbria).

Bronze went to CAMRA's current National Winter Beer of Britain winner Station Porter from the Wickar Brewery (Gloucestershire).


Complete List Winners

Champion Beer of Britain: TRIPLE FFF, ALTON'S PRIDE (Hampshire)

Second: Beckstones, Black Dog Freddy (Cumbria)

Third: Wickwar, Station Porter (Gloucestershire)

Mild Category
Gold - Beckstones, Black Dog Freddy (Cumbria)
Silver - Rudgate, Ruby Mild (York)
Bronze - Rhymney, Dark (Merthyr Tydfil)

Bitter Category
Gold - Triple fff, Alton's Pride (Hampshire)
Silver - Lees, Bitter (Manchester)
Joint Bronze - Jarrow, Rivet Catcher (Tyne & Wear) and Surrey Hills, Ranmore Ale (Surrey)

Best Bitter Category
Gold - Skinner's, Betty Stogs (Cornwall)
Silver - Highland, Scapa Special (Orkney)
Bronze - Cairngorm, Nessies Monster Mash (Highlands) and Timothy Taylor, Landlord (West Yorkshire)

Strong Bitter Category
Gold - Thornbridge, Jaipur IPA (Derbyshire)
Silver - Fuller's, ESB (London)
Bronze - Highland, Orkney Blast (Orkney)

Golden Ale Category
Gold - Otley, O1 (Mid Glamorgan)
Silver - Loddon, Ferryman's Gold (Oxfordshire)
Bronze - Skinner's, Cornish Knocker Ale (Cornwall)

Speciality Beer Category
Gold - Otley, OGarden (Mid Glamorgan)
Silver - Wentworth, Bumble Beer (South Yorkshire)
Bronze - Nethergate, Umbel Magna (Essex)

CAMRA Bottled-Conditioned Beers
Gold - Wye Valley, Dorothy Goodbody's Wholesome Stout
Silver - Fullers, 1845
Bronze - Wells and Young's, Special London Ale

Winter Beer of Britain Winner (announced in Jan 2008)
Wickwar, Station Porter

2008-08-11
THE FACE OF A PINT
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has released figures showing that pub beer prices have surged following the budget. The average pub price of a pint of real ale has increased by 12 pence and the average price of a pint of lager has increased by 14 pence. These increases have taken place over a four month period and stem from a 10% increase in beer tax in March's budget. New research also released today shows that 62% of pub goers blame the Government for high pub beer prices.

Fierce price competition from supermarkets and falling beer sales have limited the ability of licensees to fully pass on cost increases to consumers. However, as licensees come under increasing financial pressure many will soon be forced to pass on, in full, increased tax, increased wholesale prices and increased operating costs to the consumer. CAMRA fears that pub beer price inflation this year could exceed 10%. Unless plans for swingeing increases in beer tax over the next four years are reversed many thousands of community pubs will close and average pub beer prices in London and the South East will be over 4 and in some pubs over 5 for the 2012 London Olympics.

On the opening day of the Great British Beer Festival, Tuesday 5th August, CAMRA staged a protest against high beer tax. Over 65,000 visitors, including 5,000 licensees and brewers, to the Great British Beer Festival will also be asked to send their MP a postcard protesting at high beer tax. In the run up to the Festival over 1,700 people have joined a Facebook group, Fair Deal on BeerTax, to support calls for lower excise duty on beer.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said:

This year's devastating increase in beer tax has forced publicans to increase prices and pub-goers are right to lay the blame at the door of the Government. High beer taxes threaten to prevent many low and moderate earners enjoying a regular pint at their local pub. We desperately urge the Chancellor to think again before he goes down in history as the Chancellor who closed thousands of community pubs; damaged community life and prevented many millions of pub-goers from enjoying a regular trip to the pub.

This is not something the British people want; as research released today reveals that 65% of British people view the public house as an integral part of British life. The poll also showed that 69% of all adults think well-run community pubs are the best places to enjoy alcohol.

Benner continues: Public houses offer a safe, controlled and supervised environment for people to relax with a drink. The Chancellor has failed to recognise that well-run community pubs are the solution to Britain's binge drinking problems. Ever increasing beer tax will do nothing to stop binge drinking, as it will simply lead to a continuing shift in consumption away from well-run community pubs to drinking at home, on the streets and in public parks.

2008-08-07
LAGER? WHAT'S THAT?
The bars inside the Earls Court Exhibition Centre - complete with the heavy branding of a well-known lager - doubtless do well during concerts and trade shows. But this week they look like being among the most deserted drinking spots in Britain.

There was certainly little demand for their pale fizzy liquid served in plastic as the Great British Beer Festival kicked off - even if a few punters were happy to use its high stools for a sit down as they tucked into some freshly made pork scratchings.

Indeed the real ale aficionados - about 60,000 of who are expected this week - can afford a gentle snigger, as they look across to the brightly-lit but empty bar. For while overall pub beer sales have sunk to their lowest level since the 1930s, real ale has weathered the storm a little better.

Overall beer sales in pubs fell 10.6% between April and June compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) - a drop of about 1.6 million pints per day. Meanwhile Nielsen research suggests that overall beer sales in pubs are 9% lower than a year ago - while they remain steady in supermarkets. But while lager slipped heavily, cask ale sales dropped only about 1.3% last year, with some brewers such as Fullers reporting a slight increase in demand.

"The only breweries that seem to be brewing more beer now than before, that are seeing their sales rise, are the smallest breweries," said Iain Loe of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) which organises the festival.

"There are 600 microbreweries in the UK and 35 family brewers. This sector of the market is very active."

However times are tough for the industry as a whole.

"In many ways you've got the perfect storm for pubs," says Graham Page of Nielsen, pint glass in hand. "There are the supermarkets selling alcohol very cheaply, while in the pubs it is relatively expensive and you can no longer smoke. Then you have got an economic situation with everybody having to adapt to the lack of credit and spending power, and a government which is upping the duty on alcohol and making it the new tobacco in terms of the damage they say it is causing to our health."

And for real ale firms, there is the battle of getting a pump onto more bars, he adds, with many pubs tied to either a chain or a brewing giant.

It is a situation that means that even amid falling demand, the 10 top selling beers - led by Carling and Fosters - have more than two thirds of total sales, a market share predicted to rise to 80% by 2015 as the brewing giants flex their muscles.

But Mr Page, who has been in the industry for 40 years, said there was a reason for cask ale demand holding up relatively well.

"It has provenance, it can be organic, it can be green, it can be local - all things that people are looking for these days," he says. "So for pubs it's something that looks good to have on your bars, and it can drive traffic."

The same traits meant that supermarkets were happy to stock an increasingly wide range of bottled ale.

"It fits in with the pressure that they are under to offer variety and to be more local," Mr Page says.

Over at the tombola stall, the prizes are mainly good pub guides, beer glasses and bottles of ale. Then there are the T-shirts - with odes to legendary drinkers such as Oliver Reed and a parody of Lord Kitchener war recruitment posters asking: "Are YOU a Draught Dodger".

But despite the distractions, there does not seem to be much talk of anything other than beer and the industry's prospects. After just a couple of hours, Steve McDonald had sold out of his limited supply of the award-winning Severn Sins - made at his Severn Vale Brewing Company, which produces about 15 barrels of beer (approximately 4,300 pints) a week.

And he argues that those who made "decent beer" would manage to stay afloat. "The market might be getting quieter overall but we've not noticed a downturn in business at all," he says. "There are pubs closing which is worrying - but it tends to be the less well-run pubs that do shut. And while the supermarkets sell drink cheaply, it's a different market. If somebody wants a nice ale, perhaps something different, they will seek it out in a pub."

Over at Bar UnusuAle, there is a collection of niche beers - including those for vegetarians and drinkers with an intolerance of wheat or gluten. And the bar's manager Andy Mitchell believes that brewers sometimes need to offer something more innovative. He has two of his own Spectrum Brewery beers at the festival, including the vegan Old Stoatwobbler, made at a carbon neutral brewhouse in Norfolk.

"It's something different and people like the concept, but it has to taste good," Mr Mitchell says, wiping a wisp of froth form the edge of his moustache. "Nobody is going to buy a beer just because it is organic. It has to be organic and also be really nice."

The only section with bigger queues is the cider and perry bar. And while manager John Lewis makes clear his distaste for Magners and rival mass-market ciders, he is grateful for the way they have boosted the profile of the drink. In 2002 the bar sold 1,200 gallons of ciders and perries (made from pears rather than apples). This year there are 2,800 gallons available across 110 different brews - with an average strength of about 6.5%.

"When Magners advertise, they don't just advertise Magners, they advertise cider, and that has been great for us," he says. "Certainly the cider producers that I know are not complaining about falling sales. What we don't know yet is what effect any recession will have."

And he is praying that there will not be a repeat of last year's event, which saw the cider run out at 10pm on the Friday of the festival.

"I just called suppliers and asked them to get whatever they had onto lorries and driven up to London straight away. We sorted out the invoices after it had all been drunk. It has been a good few years for small cider producers. We're just hoping it can continue."

2008-08-01
WHERE DID YOU SAY IT WAS?
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has combined its extensive knowledge of good pubs with the latest innovations in satellite navigation to produce a unique and exclusive Good Beer Guide 2008 Points of Interest (POI) file for TomTom users.

Catering for techies and pub-goers alike, the file will allow users to pinpoint and explore over 4,500 pubs listed in the current edition of the Good Beer Guide. Simple to install and use, CAMRA hopes the file will encourage users to get out exploring and uncover some of Britain's best real-ale pubs.

Simon Hall, CAMRA Managing Editor, said: For anyone tired of getting lost down country lanes, map in hand, while trying to find a pub for Sunday lunch, this is the perfect, stress-free solution.

Hall continues: Recent research has shown that many people prefer to spend their evenings and weekends indoors, with modern technology allowing them to shop and socialise online. However, this latest application for a successful piece of navigational technology will encourage users to leave the confines of their living room and enjoy and support great community pubs!

Priced at just five pounds, the file contains up-to-date information from the Good Beer Guide 2008, including pub names, addresses, phone numbers and locations. Although the file is only compatible with TomTom hardware at present, there are plans to create POI files for other systems in the future.

The CAMRA Good Beer Guide TomTom POI file is out now, and is available for immediate download from the CAMRA website at: http://www.camra.org.uk/GBGPOI.

2008-07-25
THRIVE ALIVE.
A new book celebrates 150 of London's most unspoilt pubs. CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has launched the definitive guide to London's most unspoilt historic pubs - London Heritage Pubs - An Inside Story.

Despite CAMRA's recent research showing 57 pubs close every month, London Heritage Pubs - An Inside Story features 150 of the oldest, most distinctive, and renowned pubs in the capital that are still thriving today.

To accommodate the far-reaching locations of the public houses, the book is divided into seven sections reflecting Greater London postal districts. While explaining the historical context and layout of each individual pub, the book also raises issues surrounding the sustainability of the public house, and its changing face in the twenty-first century. There are also features about the evolution of London pubs, what's distinctive about them, historic brewing in the capital, and London beer styles.

The book is a product of over seven year's research by co-authors Geoff Brandwood and Jane Jephcote.

Geoff Brandwood said, "With all the bad press surrounding pub closures and the increase on beer tax, we do still have many marvellous, genuine historic pubs in the capital and it's great to see them making something of their heritage and offering value within the community. There's been so much drastic change to our traditional pubs in recent decades it's important to preserve what we have left. The pubs in this book are all part of our national heritage and a great unique British institution. Enjoy!"

It may be a tall order for pub lovers to visit all 150 pubs but the authors have therefore highlighted the following Ten pubs not to miss':

* Princess Louise, Holborn
* Cittie of Yorke, Holborn
* Red Lion, St James's
* Black Friar, Blackfriars
* Eastbrook, Dagenham
* Forester, Ealing
* Salisbury, Harringay
* Prince Alfred, Maida Vale
* Falcon, Battersea
* Olde Cheshire Cheese, Holborn

London Heritage Pubs - An Inside Story can be bought in all good book shops or ordered online at www.camra.org.uk/shop. Priced 14.99 (12.99 for CAMRA Members)

2008-07-17
PUB HUB.
With pubs across Britain shutting down at an alarming rate, the great British pub in danger of losing its place in the hub of village life, says Gillian Hargreaves.

According to the British Beer and Pub Association, there were 1400 pub closures last year, compared to 200 the year before. That works out at about 27 a week.

Community pubs - essentially "the local" - are being particularly badly hit. In Scotland the situation is less acute, but in England and Wales more and more pubs are facing last orders.

The cost of supermarket alcohol - making it cheaper to drink at home - and the smoking ban and rising costs of food are cited as some of the reasons for staying away or staying in.

Reach, a village in Cambridgeshire, used to have a shop, a primary school and a post office.

But when the pub was under threat of closure back in 1999, 49 villagers clubbed together to buy it, some contributing as little as 250.

It is now a parish asset, and cannot be sold or turned into a private house.

Bryan Pearson, the chairman of the consortium which bought the pub, says: "If we hadn't got a pub this place would become a dormitory. We have a village hall but that is very much for set piece events at certain times, but a community needs somewhere where it can just bounce ideas off itself and be at peace with itself."

Frank Feehan, the landlord, points out that as a successful pub, Dykes End is rapidly becoming a big employer in the village.

"The main thing we provide in this village is employment - I employ three full-time staff and probably half a dozen part-time staff, training men to work in our micro brewery. We provide a reason for people to be in the village rather than going to work elsewhere."

And he points out that while the government is trying to reduce the amount we drink, pubs are a part of the British way of life.

"This government and other governments say they want to introduce a cafe culture into this country. We already have a kind of cafe culture, but it's a pub culture. It doesn't mean binge drinking and it doesn't mean over drinking, it means coming to a place like this and enjoying yourself, having a locally-brewed pint and having a good time."

A group of politicians, the magnificently named All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, have just finished a two-year inquiry into the state of the pub.

They plan to make recommendations about what the government could - or should - do to help.

The MP for the Midlands' brewing town of Burton-on-Trent - and author of the group's report - might well turn out to be the pub trade's Good Samaritan.

Janet Dean has spent two years trying to find out why pubs are going under, and if the government could - or should - help. She wants some form of state intervention for pubs that can show they contribute to the life of a village or town.

"We want the government to recognise the value of pubs and the work they do in the community.

"In some instances we have heard of post offices being established in pubs, toilets being used as public toilets and community involvement with football teams. The government could recognise this and other aspects with some form of rating relief."

Subsidies may not go down well with the government. Chancellor Alistair Darling put four pence on a pint in the last budget, with the expectation that duty would rise year on year. Something Ms Dean, a Labour MP, wants scrapped.

"Some of us are concerned about the alcohol escalator in the budget. I can understand why he put duty up - as he was looking at supermarket prices and it's supermarket prices that have been maintained, if not reduced, over the last 10 years - whereas cheap supermarket prices has put pressure on pubs," she says.

The pub industry itself is also urging the government to give the industry tax breaks.

The British Brewing and Pub Association has conducted a survey, asking voters about tax on beer. Eighty-two percent said the inflation increase was unfair on sensible drinkers, and 77% said it will threaten pubs.

"The indications from the polling are quite clear, the public believe pubs are under threat. They think higher taxes will increase that threat - and not tackle the problems of binge drinking, which we all want to try and resolve," says Rob Haywood of the BBPA.

He claims that by 2012 a pint of beer in London will cost 6.50 a pint, if the alcohol escalator is retained.

But the government told BBC One's Politics Show where pubs provide evidence of their importance to community life, they may get help to stay open. And Parliament plans to investigate the role of the pub companies.

The future of the great British pub, it seems, is now on politicians' minds.

2008-07-16
BE THE BEST.
CAMRA Challenges Britain's Best to Enter Design Awards

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today sent an open invitation to Britain's pub designers, architects, and owners in a bid to reward the high standards and hard work undergone during 2007. In association with English Heritage and The Victorian Society, The Pub Design Award has become a highly sought-after accolade, with past winners enjoying an increased profile with the media and consumers as a result.

Since its inception in 1982, the Awards have encouraged publicans to consider aspects of conservation and maintenance, whilst also awarding those who modernise certain features of their public house without affecting the heritage of the building.

The Awards will be judged by CAMRA's Pubs Group, individuals unequalled in the field of pub preservation and architecture. The Awards will be split into the following four categories:

1) New Build Pub
This category is for entirely new built pubs. The judges look for a number of details when judging the worth of any new establishment. The pub might reflect pubs of the past but without becoming a mere pastiche of Edwardian, Victorian or even Georgian artefacts. Or it could be completely modern, using materials of the 20th or 21st century.

2) Conversion to Pub Use
This is where an existing building is converted to pub use. Pubs are judged on the taste and restraint used on both the outside and inside of the pub.

3) Refurbished pub
Refurbishment can range from a complete gutting to replace what was crass and in bad taste with something far better to an enhancement of what was originally there. Refurbishment should suit the individual pub and not be an excuse to use uniform furnishings to brand the pub with brewery or pub company's image.

4) CAMRA / English Heritage Conservation award
This award, sponsored by English Heritage, is usually given for work on a pub which conserves what is good in the pub, makes good some of the crass refurbishment efforts of the past and ensures that the fabric of the place will survive for further generations of pub goers and drinkers to enjoy.

Tony Jerome, CAMRA's Press Manager, said -

In an age where new quickly replaces the old, it is great to reward those that consider Britain's heritage and architecture when it comes to pub design. CAMRA's Pub Design Awards will go to those that have shown innovation and good taste without having to rip out a pub interior and create something completely new.

In the past a number of pubcos have insisted on creating a theme that makes their pubs look exactly the same where ever they are located in Britain. This may give them a brand identity but experience shows that themes soon become out of fashion and this leads to companies throwing more money at creating another theme! What is the matter with investing in traditional, quality pub design that has worked for many pubs over the years? It is the difference in the look and feel of Britain's pubs that creates such an interest and makes our pubs industry unique.

If you own, design, work, live, or merely like the look of your local, please do not hesitate to offer recommendations for the Awards. Application forms can be downloaded from the CAMRA website at www.camra.org.uk/pdaawards2008, and entries can be submitted by post to:

Jon Howard
CAMRA Pub Design Awards
Campaign for Real Ale Ltd
230 Hatfield Road
St Albans
Herts
AL1 4LW

The closing date for all entries will be Tuesday 30th September 2008, with presentation ceremonies for all award winners to be confirmed at a later date.

2008-07-07
THE LAW ACCORDING TO EU.
European beer drinkers have reached agreement where national governments have failed. The national beer consumer groups from 13 countries will meet on 24th June to sign the European Beer Consumers Union's (EBCU) first constitution.

The chairs of the current 13 national member organisations will sign the Constitution of EBCU which encapsulates the aims and objectives of the federation which represents over 130,000 beer drinkers across Europe at the Brewers of Europe House, in Brussels.

The European Beer Consumers Union (EBCU) will also be celebrating 18 years of existence having been founded in Bruges in 1990.

Whilst consolidation amongst the world's brewers continues, and global beer brands dominate the market; Europe's beer consumers are working hard to ensure that there will still be a wide choice of craft brewed beers available for future generations.

In a climate where the big brewers continue to get bigger and bigger and lose all contact with their original routes, axing local beer brands and closing breweries it is essential that the beer drinkers of Europe stand up for local quality beer and fight to protect and promote Europe's beer heritage. The latest proposed mega-merger, between InBev and Anheuser-Busch will, if it succeeds, create a brewer with almost 25% share of the world beer market. How many more local beer brands will be lost whilst this new brewing giant concentrates on promoting its global beer brands? said Terry Lock, chairman of EBCU.

It is essential that Europe's Beer drinkers come together to fight the threats posed by globalisation in beer market. The member organisations of EBCU have shown that beer drinkers can reach agreement to enable the consumer's voice to be heard more clearly in the corridors of Brussels and Strasbourg. Perhaps a pint or two of quality craft produced beer could aid national governments to come to a similar accord continued Lock.

Working together the 13 national beer consumer organisations lobby strongly on issues that concern the beer drinker and pub goer.

EBCU's objectives are:

* The promotion of Europe's beer culture
* The promotion of traditional beer styles
* The promotion of diversity and consumer choice
* To enhance the image of beer
* To represent the interests of consumers

EBCU's priorities are

* Competition and Choice in the European Beer Market
* Taxation
* Empowering the Consumer

In the years since EBCU was founded there has been a renaissance of brewing in many countries of Europe, samples from some of these will be available to toast EBCU's 18th Birthday at the Brewers of Europe House on 24th June.

2008-06-30
INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATIONS.
The third Summer Evening BBQ will be held at the High House Farm Brewery on Friday 4th July from 6.30pm onwards.

The traditional BBQ kicks off from 6.30pm and will feature folk music from Celtic band Beeswing from 7pm onwards. The two bars will be open from the start and feature the High House award winning real ales plus wines, lager and soft drinks. The bars close at 11pm.

Food will also be served at the event from burgers and sausages from Northumbrian suppliers to local breads and salads (with vegetarian options).

There is plenty of outside seating, or inside seating if wet and tickets cost 6.50 per adult, 3.00 for children (5 16 years old) and under fives free!

Contact: www.highhousefarmbrewery.co.uk or General Office 01661 886 192.

2008-06-20
HALF A SHILLING.
CAMRA call for Scottish beer lovers to show support to the Scottish Brewing Industry at the Scottish Real Ale Festival, Edinburgh

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is offering visitors a Shilling Experience next week at the Scottish Real Ale Festival by offering all beer lovers a chance to try beer styles completely unique to Scotland, in conjunction with Belhaven Brewery.

Shilling Ales' were named after the amount of excise duty levied on each barrel in the 19th century. The beer's flavour reflect the natural, local ingredients available to Scottish brewers. They tend to be darker, sweeter and less heavily hopped than other British beers. The traditional, classic styles are 60/- (Light), 70/- (Heavy), 80/- (Export) and 90/- (Strong Wee Heavy).

The Scottish Real Ale Festival will feature a range of traditional Shilling Ales including Belhaven 60/-, 70/-, 80/- & 90/- and Caledonian 80/-, plus a selection of newer interpretations from the smaller new breweries including Exciseman's 80/- from Broughton, Stewarts 80/- and Traditional Scottish Ales City of Stirling 80 /-.

Ian Brocklebank, Chair of the CAMRA Light and Dark Supporters Group, said, The Shilling Experience is a fantastic showcase for Real Ale from small and regional producers, which reflect the best of natural ingredients and the demands of local drinkers. Anyone who hasn't tried these excellent ales before should grab the chance.

Mr Brocklebank continued, It is very topical that these beers are named after shillings as this relates to the amount of excise duty levied on each barrel of beer back in the 19th century. Alastair Darling has recently increased excise duty on beer by 4p a pint and we now pay the highest beer duty in Europe - 34p a pint on average strength beers and 42.5p on beers that are 5%abv. On top of this, the government takes in excess of 40p for each pint sold in a pub through VAT!

This hike has put many pressures on the real ale industry in Scotland and we hope Scottish consumers will show their support for our fantastic brewers by visiting the Scottish Real Ale Festival and sampling some of the wonderful beers on show.

CAMRA is campaigning to persuade the Chancellor to reverse this beer tax hike and to freeze beer duty in future years.

Mr Brocklebank concluded, If Mr Darling is near Edinburgh at the end of this week then we would encourage him to visit the festival and come and speak to the Scottish brewers and pub-goers. These people will tell him how these tax increases on beer are tearing the pub and brewing trade apart.

The Scottish Real Ale Festival takes place in Edinburgh at the Assembly Rooms, George Street from Thursday June 19th to Saturday June 21st. Admission is 4. Opening times are Thursday 4pm-11pm, Friday Noon-11pm and Saturday Noon - 9 pm.

As well as around 120 beers exclusively from Scotland, there will also be Real Cider and Perry.

2008-06-15
HIGH HOUSE FARM BREWERY.
High House Farm Brewery are having a second Summer Evening BBQ on Friday 20th June from 6.30pm onwards.

The hogroast kicks off from 6.30pm and there will be folk music from Celtic band Shearwater starting at 7.00pm. There will also be a delicious hog roast from Moorhouse Farm with local breads and salads (and vegetarian options).

Two fully stocked bars with award winning real ales (including the famous nettle ale!) plus wines, lager and soft drinks will close at 11pm.

There is plenty of outside seating, or inside seating if wet.

Tickets on the door or in advance 6.50 per adult, 3.00 for children (5 16 years old) and under fives free!

Sally Urwin
Marketing Manager
High House Farm Brewery
Near Matfen
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE20 0RG
www.highhousefarmbrewery.co.uk
For General Office call 01661 886 192
To contact Sally call 07884 180 195

The brewery and visitor centre, with tearoom, full bar, exhibition, and shop is open every day from 10.30 am to 5.00 pm, except Wednesday.

2008-06-09
NEW DESIGNS
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has today announced the winners of its annual Pub Design Awards, which celebrate the very best in vision, imagination and restraint in Britain's pubs.

Pub Design Award judge, architectural historian and writer Steven Parissien said: The pub is at the hub of our way of life. And much of the pub's importance derives from its architectural form. Pubs depend not just on their beer, their food, or their landlord for their success, but on how they look, both inside and out. Pub design is an element that can make or break a pub - and can, in turn, either enhance or injure its local community. And it is this element that the Pub Design Awards aims to celebrate and publicise. Thankfully 2007-8 has been an exceptional year for pub role-model for the future.

The Winners

Refurbishment Award and CAMRA / English Heritage Conservation Award
The Weaver Hotel, South Parade, Weston Point, Runcorn, Cheshire

The judges said: Carefully conserved by Maddocks Design Partnership of Altrincham for Barnsley's Oakwell Brewery, this jaunty former commercial hotel and bar has been through decades of neglect and decline, but has now been restored to something like its Edwardian glory.

Internal archaeology revealed the original room plan, which was faithfully reproduced Period' light fittings have been installed; genuinely Edwardian paint colours - and, encouragingly, even wood graining - applied; superlative stained glass windows restored; dado tiling and the old column radiators repaired; a new but harmonious bar counter inserted; the original ceilings uncovered; the double-leaf front doors retained, and copied for the former off-sales entrance; and real fires reintroduced. Outside, the brickwork and stone dressings have been sensitively reappointed, and the roof appropriately re-slated.

A pub that just two years ago seemed not long for this world has been rescued and rejuvenated. Altogether a highly impressive job, worthy of two awards - and of the notice of pub owners across the UK. Here's a fine example of what can be done to reinvigorate a pub and its surrounding community, using relatively meagre resources but a lot of common sense and well-placed enthusiasm.

Conversion to Pub Use Award
The Tobie Norris, St Paul's Street, Stamford, Lincolnshire

The judges said: Rebuilt by local architect Philip Heath for owner Michael Thurlby, this building originally dates back to 1280. The Norrises were local bell-makers, and several generations of Tobies' can be linked to the pub name. Converted from a former private club, the building's original room plan has been largely retained or revived, creating a variety of enticing spaces, upstairs and down, each with its own individual ambience.

This interior makes full use of the architectural features uncovered when the 1960s hardboard, which had been tacked onto nearly all the wall and ceiling surfaces, was stripped away. The medieval roof in the main upstairs room is particularly stunning. All rooms have been carefully conserved, and new introductions - for example, of fitted seating in one of the downstairs rooms, plus the new bar counter itself - have been sympathetically inserted.

The reintroduced panelling is reclaimed 1760s work, and the new plasterwork has been painstakingly recreated to an 18th century recipe. Throughout the pub, open fires, flagstones, old mix-and-match furniture, and appropriate and complementary paint colours - from a rich cream to crimson to leaf green - all create a hugely welcoming and cosseting atmosphere. The overall feel is intimate, historic, and innately pubby': no doubt that within a few years people will be claiming that it has been a pub for centuries. Altogether a worthy and much-praised winner of the Conversion award.

New Build Pub Award
The Black Horse Inn, Walcote, Leicestershire

The judges said, For the first time in many years, the judges are delighted to be be able to present an award for a New Buildpub. Local architects Twigg and Associates, working closely with the owner Andy Clipston, have replaced the pub that originally stood in this village. The old pub was deemed by the thoughtless local authority to be too close to the road' and in the way of a planned executive housing estate' - as blatant an instance of urban vandalism and detrimental improvement' as you can get. Then the White Knight rode in: a former pub regular, Andrew Clipston, intervened to buy the site and rebuild the pub - ensuring that the new building was now a regulation two metres from the main road.

This pub has had both critics and defenders - but one which, we feel, on balance deserves an award, if only to celebrate the Phoenix-like rebirth of the village's social focus.

Steven Parissien concluded the judges report saying, Disappointingly, no submitted entry was deemed worthy of CAMRA's Joe Goodwin Award for Best Street Corner Local this year. However, the judges have singled out three pubs all of which, in their own ways, point to a bright -and profitable - future for the traditional British pub. If only more pub owners would begin to realise this.

Julian Hough, CAMRA's Pub Director, was very happy to see pubs getting some positive exposure at a worrying time for the pub industry. He said, Our research shows that almost 60 pubs are permanently closing every month. That means they are being bulldozed or changed into houses and will never be pubs again.

Pubs are currently facing a lot of challenges at this moment in time with having to deal with the highest beer duty in Europe, some Supermarkets selling beer cheaper than water and of course the smoking ban. I am delighted that these awards are promoting something positive in the pub industry and I would like to congratulate all the winners on their pub design work and wish them all the success for the future.

2008-05-14
MILD FOR THE TIME OF YEAR.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has launched its annual Mild in May' campaign to encourage pub-goers to try the unique beer style.

Mild is one of Britain's most traditional beer styles. Milds are typically low in alcohol with an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) in the 3% to 3.5% range. Mild is usually dark in colour, due to the use of well-roasted malt or barley, and is often less hopped than bitters, having a chocolately character with nutty burnt flavours.

Whilst Mild has enjoyed a small revival in today's real ale market, it still only accounts for an estimated 3-5% of all real ale sales. Mild has perhaps been overshadowed in recent years by more fashionable beers like golden ales as breweries and pubs try to encourage lager drinkers to move over to real ale.

CAMRA is encouraging pub-goers to support this endangered beer style by visiting their local pub and trying a Mild in May, the traditional month for many Milds to be brewed.

Ian Brocklebank, CAMRA's Light and Dark Beer Supporters Chairman said, Mild is one of the beer styles along with Old Ales, Light Bitters, Stouts and Porters that CAMRA categorise as endangered'. There has been a small revival in the drinking of Mild thanks to breweries putting more money in to the promotion of this superb style of beer but more needs to be done if Mild is to survive at the bar. It is important that CAMRA continue to promote this beer style and we are encouraging all pub-goers, whether they have tried real ale in the past or not, to try a Mild in May to find out what a great British drink this is.

Mr Brocklebank continued, If your licensee doesn't currently have any Milds on sale in his or her pub then ask them to order some this month. You will not be disappointed!

There are a number of Mild brewery promotions happening throughout May to help support the Mild campaign. These include:

Everards Brewery, Leicestershire is launching a 3.3% ABV Chocolate Ale in May. Everards describe the cask-conditioned mild as more-ish with an irresistible hint of chocolate.' Erika Hardy, Everards Marketing Manager said, This beer is a great first taste for new ale drinkers and demonstrates that there is great breadth and innovation within the current real ale market.

Thwaites Brewery, Lancashire has renamed their Dark Mild as Nutty Black'. This beer is Dark Ruby in colour and has a strength of 3.3% ABV. Lee Williams, Marketing Manager for Thwaites said, We have seen customers respond very positively in the past to a name change but it has to be relevant and true to the brand otherwise the customer sees right through it. Nutty Black does just that and perhaps without some of the baggage that has been associated with the traditional term Mild', the brand can attract a new drinker.

Greene King Brewery, Suffolk has written to 2,000 of its pubs asking them to support CAMRA's Mild campaign throughout the month to stock orders of their sweet, dark 3% Greene King XX Mild, recently crowned Champion Mild of East Anglia. Justin Adams, Greene King's Managing Director said, We are really delighted to be working with CAMRA. XX Mild is an important part of our diverse portfolio or quality ales and we're working hard to ensure ale lovers can still experience the unique taste of mild in pubs.

There are plenty of CAMRA Mild events for pub-goers to participate in. To see which mild socials / trails are happening in your area please visit www.camra.org.uk/mild.

2008-05-07
ARE YOU LocAle?
Steve Westby from Nottingham has been named as CAMRA's first Real Ale Campaigner of the Year at their National Members' Weekend & AGM.

Steve Westby was presented the award for his hard work in creating and promoting a new initiative called LocAle which encourages pubs to serve at least one real ale that is brewed within 20 miles. The scheme has been trialled in Nottingham and CAMRA is set to roll it out nationally.

CAMRA now boasts over 90,000 members who help the not-for-profit organisation to campaign on all beer and pub issues. The consumer group was formed in 1971 to help improve consumer rights and make sure pub-goers had more choice at the bar when it came to drinking real ale as well as good pubs in which to drink it. Many thousands of members over the years have given up their own time to volunteer and help the campaign be successful. There are now over 2,500 real ales brewed by more than 600 breweries in Britain.

Following the announcement of the acquisition of Hardys & Hansons brewery by Greene King in 2006, Nottingham CAMRA tried desperately to persuade Greene King to keep the brewery open.

Although the campaign unfortunately failed, it did have a knock on effect. It was suggested by CAMRA that environmentally it would be better for people to drink local beers than have beer moved around the country creating Beer Miles'. Too many pubs were also just offering global brands. Enthused about the idea, Steve coined the phrase LocAle' and a new positive campaign was launched.

With the support for this campaign from the Nottingham CAMRA branch, Steve took it upon himself to draft the guidelines, to source appropriate point of sale items and ensure that the campaign would impact on pubs and drinkers alike.

The end result is Nottingham pubs now consider selling local beers, those that sign up to the campaign are selling local real ales and this is therefore environmentally friendly and supports local business. This results in a better choice of beers for the consumer at the bar.

To be included in the Nottingham LocAle scheme a pub must sell a beer that has been brewed within a 20 mile radius. Pubs that sign up to the campaign receive a variety of point of sale material to promote that they sell local beers. Over 70 pubs in Nottingham have signed up to the scheme and the principles of the initiative have been adopted in York, Isle of Wight and Sheffield.

On winning the award, Steve Westby said, I feel very proud to be honoured as CAMRA's very first Real Ale Campaigner of the Year in recognition of the success of the LocAle campaign. I dreamt up what became LocAle over a pint one evening whilst mulling over the impact of the takeover and cynical closure of Nottingham's last major brewer and it is pleasing that such a simple idea has become so successful. This success is very much due to the hard work of my colleagues on the Nottingham CAMRA committee in supporting the idea and I must also thank my son, Richard, for the clever design of the very distinctive LocAle logo and for the supporting artwork that he created.

Brett Laniosh, CAMRA's Promotions and Marketing Director said, "CAMRA LocAle is an exciting campaign that we will be encouraging our 200 branches to adopt. It is amazing how such a simple idea will now help local pubs and breweries and give consumers more local beers to try in pubs. I would personally like to congratulate Steve on being the first winner of this award."

2008-05-01
MILD FOR THE TIME OF YEAR.
CAMRA is promoting the endangered beer style throughout May. CAMRA and a number of pubs and breweries, will be celebrating the beer style Mild in May with a variety of different events to raise the awareness of this endangered beer style.

Mild is one of the most traditional beer styles, and whilst it is enjoying a small revival in today's real ale market, it still only accounts for an estimated 3-5% of all real ale sales. Mild has perhaps been overshadowed in recent years by more fashionable beers such as golden ales and premium bitters.

Mild beers tend not to be very strong and have an ABV in the 3% to 3.5 % range. They are usually dark in colour, due to the use of well-roasted malts or barley, and are often less hopped than bitters, having a chocolatey character with nutty burnt flavours.

The objectives of CAMRA's Mild campaign are to raise the profile of Mild by:

* Encouraging licensees to serve Milds in May to see if this is a beer style that could benefit their business in the future.
* Encouraging licensees to organise Mild events in pubs e.g. Try before you Buy, Mild and Curry evenings, Meet the local brewer.
* Encouraging consumers to try this wonderful beer style in May.
* Encouraging more breweries to brew Mild.
* Encouraging CAMRA branches to organise Mild events for consumers to enjoy e.g Mild Trails.

Mild Website - www.camra.org.uk/mild

2008-04-14
WALK THIS WAY.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, launched a new book entitled Peak District Pub Walks. The book is a practical pocket-sized, travellers' guide to some of the best pubs and best walking in the Peak District.

The 25 walks within Peak District Pub Walks reflect the best elements from this fascinating region and take into account its inspiring landscape, historic past and its great beer, said author Bob Steel.

The book takes people on a tour of the best real ale pubs the area has to offer. It features full colour Ordnance Survey maps and detailed route information, alongside pub listings with opening hours and the details of draught beers.

Author Bob Steel said, No other guide to the Peak District tells you as much about the beer quality and range available. All the pubs in this guide are here with the agreement of the local branches of the Campaign for Real Ale, and this is your best assurance of a great pint.

This is the second book by Bob Steel. His first, London Pub Walks, was published in 2006 as part of CAMRA's National Pubs Week celebrations. Bob is a geographer by profession and has been a teacher for much of his life. Apart from a lifelong interest in good beer and good architecture, he is a keen walker, cyclist and organic gardener. He has written many magazine and newspaper articles.

Peak District Pub Walks (ISBN 978-185249-246-5) is priced 9.99 and available to buy from all good book shops or direct from CAMRA at shop.camra.org.uk or by calling 01727 867201.

2008-03-25
HEAD FOR FIGURES.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has hit out at the Chancellor's decision to increase beer duty by 4 pence a pint in the Budget, together with annual increases of 2% above inflation for the next four years. The consumer group claims that the increase will lead to at least 20 pence on a pint over the bar, fuelling pub closures and increasing unregulated drinking as more choose to drink at home or on the streets. This is the first time ever that beer tax has increased by 4 pence - a rise of 13%!

CAMRA recently announced that 57 pubs are lost permanently every month as the price differential between pubs and supermarkets widens. Pubs provide a regulated environment for people to enjoy alcohol socially and responsibly.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive of CAMRA said, The Chancellor has failed to recognise that well-run community pubs are the solution to Britain's binge drinking problems. This budget will do nothing to stop binge drinking, but it will lead to pub closures on a huge scale, widen the gap between supermarket and pub prices and encourage smuggling and cross-border shopping. It's a great big nail whacked ruthlessly into the coffin of the British pub.

The 90,000 strong consumer group has condemned the announcement that beer tax will increase above inflation for the next four years, despite what happens to UK pubs and the beer market.

Mike Benner added, Pubs are defined as local services, yet this tax rise alongside other market pressures will accelerate closures to unprecedented levels. The budget shows a disregard for our national drink and for the 15 million people who enjoy it responsibly.

CAMRA called for a cut in beer duty in the Budget to help pubs compete with supermarket prices. CAMRA believes that supermarket prices of beer are unlikely to be affected significantly by the tax increase, but pubs as small businesses, will have no choice but to increase prices at the bar.

The latest survey of pub prices across Britain is also released by CAMRA. It shows that real ale prices across the UK have increased by 4.6% in the last year and the average price of a pint now sits at 2.45. CAMRA claims that average post-budget pub prices will now hit at least 2.65 for real ale and 2.85 for lager.

Before Budget increases apply, the most expensive region for a pint is London at 2.64 for real ale and 2.84 for lager. The best value pint of real ale was in the North at 2.15, with the best value lager in the North West at 2.40.

CAMRA's annual survey of pub process was conducted between 24th January and 24th February 2008. Over 1,000 pubs were surveyed.

Key findings of the survey:

* The average price of real ale rose by 11 pence to 2.45 - a 4.6% increase

* The average price of lager rose by eight pence to 2.65 - a 3,3% increase

* The highest price rises were in Scotland where real ale jumped by 7.8% to 2.55 a pint and lager by an inflation-busting 10.7% to 2.59 a pint

* Average price of real cider has increased by 7% to 2.63, but this is still better value than keg ciders at 2.67 a pint

* Real ales from Britain's small independent brewers are the least expensive on average at 2.39 a pint

Full results of the survey are available at www.camra.org.uk/budget2008.

2008-03-22
GOING, GOING, GONE.
The Campaign for Real Ale was less than pleased when in the budget there was no tax cut on beer in to help prevent community pub closures following the results of a survey released today which reveals that the number of pubs closed permanently has increased to 57 a month. The survey suggests that almost one third (31%) of pubs closed permanently are being demolished, while 36% are converted to shops, cafes and restaurants and 33% to some other use, mostly residential.

CAMRA called for a one penny cut in beer tax in the Budget to help stop unnecessary pub closures due to rising costs and falling beer sales. Beyond the Budget, the consumer group is also seeking changes to planning law to prevent pub demolitions and change of use from pubs to shops, cafes and restaurants without planning permission.

Mike Benner, CAMRA's Chief Executive, said, Britain's pubs provide an essential amenity for communities and a place for people to enjoy alcohol sociably in a regulated environment, yet the Government's high tax policies coupled with increasing costs are crippling them. We need to see action immediately to stop the number of pub closures spiralling out of control making it impossible for many people to benefit from the amenity of a local pub. A rescue plan' for community pubs is required and we hope the Government will begin that process with a one penny tax cut on a pint of beer.

Sadly we saw an increase of 4p a pint on beer in the budget.

Sixty-eight CAMRA volunteer branches across the UK provided figures for their areas which show the staggering levels of pub closures. The survey is based on closures recorded throughout 2007, so the effects of the smoking ban introduced last year are not yet fully evident. The consumer group also claims that pubs are faced with unprecedented increases in costs as beer prices are expected to rise due to hop and malt shortages.

Mr Benner added, Pub beer prices have increased above inflation over the last ten years and the Chancellor must give beer a break. Supermarket beer prices, on the other hand, have actually fallen in real terms, often making beer cheaper than bottled water. Supermarkets can absorb tax rises while small pub operators can't and the clear effect of this is to drive consumers away from the pub and into their armchair to drink cheap alcohol. We want the Government to recognise that the great British pub is the solution to Britain's binge drinking problems and we need policies and action to support them, not close them.

A survey commissioned by CAMRA in December 2007 shows that 27% of people who prefer to drink at home said price was the main influence on their decision. The survey also revealed that 72% of people agree that it is unfair that responsible drinkers have to pay for an irresponsible minority through high taxes. 68% of adults agree that a pub is a responsible place to drink alcohol.

We need action now before last orders ring for the British pub

Mr Benner added, Recent calls from the BMA and others for significant increases in alcohol excise duties are misguided and would be ineffective in combating binge drinking. Higher taxes will kill British pubs, force drinking underground and fuel smuggling and cross-border shopping. We need action now before last orders ring for the British pub.

* The survey shows that 1567 pubs were closed with an uncertain future during 2007.

* Beer production in the UK declined by 6% during 2007 and the proportion of beer consumed in pubs is in long term decline.

* CAMRA's first Pub Watch survey, carried out in 2006, showed that 56 pubs a month were closing with 1320 closed with an uncertain future.

* A one penny increase in beer tax would typically add five or ten pence to the price of a pint in a pub, while supermarkets can usually absorb increases.

* The Government cut cider duty in 2002 followed by freezes over the subsequent four budgets. This action, devised to support the ailing cider sector, has helped revitalise cider sales in the UK.

* The UK already has the highest rate of excise duty on beer in the European Union.

* Excise duty on beer has increased by 26.7% in the last ten years compared to 16% for wine, 11% for cider and only 3% for spirits.

* Pubs are defined in the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 as public services'.

* CAMRA's survey, carried out by TNS in December 2007, also found:

o 72% of people agree that it is unfair that responsible drinkers have to pay for an irresponsible minority.
o 68% of people agree that a pub is a responsible place to drink.
o A 10% increase in pub prices would lead to 21% of current pub goers drinking more at home.
o 45% of people now drink at home, and purchase low-cost alcohol.
o 27% of people who prefer to drink at home said price was the main influence on their decision.
o Beer is still the preferred drink in pubs. 47% of us prefer beer.

2008-03-02
OLD SPOT.
Gloucestershire Pub Voted Best Pub in Britain.

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, announced that the Old Spot in Dursley, Gloucestershire, has won the prestigious National Pub of the Year' title.

The National Pub of the Year competition analyses all the criteria that makes a good pub including the quality of the beer, atmosphere, dcor, customer service, clientele mix and value for money.

The Old Spot Inn is described in CAMRA's Good Beer Guide 2008 as This 100 year old free house, named after the Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, has been sympathetically restored by its owner, Ric Sainty. The intimate atmosphere is enhanced by log fires and brewery memorabilia. As well as Uley's Old Ric, named after the owner, it offers five guest beers, mainly from micro-brewers, served in five separate drinking areas. The wholesome menu is available 12-8pm on week days and 12-3pm at weekends. On the Cotswold Way, this convivial local is a popular watering hole for walkers. The secluded garden has a boules piste.

Julian Hough, CAMRA's Pubs Director and one of the final judges said, The Old Spot Inn is a great example of how successful a well-run community pub can be. Steve and Belinda are dedicated to maintaining the local character of the pub within the community and realise that quality real ales are an important factor in offering their local choice at the bar. I would like to congratulate everybody at the Old Spot Inn on being judged Britain's finest pub."

Steve Herbert, licensee of the Old Spot Inn said, I am overwhelmed at winning the National Pub of the Year award. To be judged the best pub in Britain is a dream come true. Belinda and I would like to thank all the staff for their hard work over the last year, and the locals for their loyalty to the Old Spot Inn. Without them this wouldn't be possible.

Mr Herbert continued, Being born and bred in Dursley means a lot to me and to be able to bring this award to this wonderful pub gives me a great sense of achievement.

Ric and Ellie Sainty, owners of the Old Spot Inn, began the transformation in 1993 when they bought the run-down Whitbred pub, then called the Fox & Hounds and turned it into a local pub where people from all walks of life could feel at home and enjoy a superb pint in very friendly and convivial surroundings. Ric and Ellie retired in 2001 and Steve and Belinda Herbert took over as licensees and have built on Ric and Ellie's success.

Tony Jerome, CAMRA's Press Manager said, We are awarding National Pub of the Year in the build up to Community Pubs Week to highlight what we believe makes a pub great. If pubs are to survive in today's competitive leisure industry, then it is important that they become more marketing focused. Licensees need to find out what their locals want, organise events and promote them accordingly. Unfortunately the day has gone when people just visit a pub because it is a pub! Community Pubs Week offers the perfect opportunity for pubs to experiment with organising and promoting events to see what impact these can have on their business.

Jerome concluded, The Old Spot Inn scored very highly in all areas of our judging criteria. The Herberts also organise a variety of events and have a superb range of real ales for pub-goers to try - the perfect recipe for a successful pub!

The presentation of the National Pub of the Year award took place at the Old Spot Inn, Hill Road, Gloucestershire, GL11 4JQ.

National Pub of the Year Runners-Up:

* Blue Peter Hotel, Kirkcolm, Dumfries & Galloway - 01776 853221
* Land of Liberty, Peace & Plenty, Heronsgate, Hertfordshire - 01923 282226
* Turks Head, St Helens, Merseyside - 01744 751289

CAMRA'S Regional Pubs of the Year:

* Central Southern - Rose & Crown, Hawridge, Buckinghamshire - 01494 758944
* Wessex - Plough Inn, Little London, Hampshire - 01256 850628
* South & Mid Wales - Borough Arms, Neath, Glamorgan - 01639 644902
* South West - Old Spot Inn, Dursley, Gloucestershire - 01453 542870
* Surrey & Sussex - White Horse, Maplehurst, West Sussex - 01403 891208
* London - Bricklayers Arms, Putney, London - 020 878 01155
* Kent - The Ship Centurion, Whitstable, Kent - 01227 264740
* East Anglia - Land of Liberty, Peace & Plenty, Heronsgate, Hertfordshire - 01923 282226
* West Midlands - Bell, Pensax, Worcestershire - 01299 896677
* East Midlands - Thorold Arms, Harmston, Lincolnshire - 01522 720358
* Yorkshire - Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield, South Yorkshire - 0114 2722482
* Merseyside, Cheshire & North Wales - Turks Head, St. Helens, Merseyside - 01744 751289
* Greater Manchester - New Oxford, Salford, Greater Manchester - 0161 8327082
* North East - King's Arms, Deptford, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear - 0191 5679804
* West Pennines - Bridge Bier Huis, Burnley, Lancashire - 01282 411304
* Scotland & Northern Ireland - Blue Peter Hotel, Kirkcolm, Dumfries & Galloway - 01776 853221

2008-02-17
COMMUNITY PUBS WEEK.
Community Pubs Week
16-23 February 2008

* A celebration of British pubs
* CAMRA to announce National Pub of the Year
* CAMRA to launch a new campaign to reduce beer duty that will help save pubs
* Thousands of pubs signed up to Community Pubs Week, organising and promoting events across Britain to encourage more people to visit pubs

Community Pubs Week was launched in 2007 after research revealed that up to 56 pubs a month are being lost forever, with more than a thousand under threat of closure at any time. Licensees are encouraged to organise and promote a number of events during the week to attract more local people to use their community pubs. This campaign highlights the vital role pubs can play in the lives of the people they serve.

CAMRA will be issuing a number of releases to help promote pubs between 13th February and 23rd February. These will include:

The National Pub of the Year will be announced on Friday 15th February (Press Release will be issued on Wednesday 13th February with a 15th February 00.01 embargo) to launch Community Pubs Week.

CAMRA judges pubs on the quality of the beer, atmosphere, dcor, customer service, clientele mix and value for money.

There are 60,000 pubs in Britain and the National Pub of the Year winner can proudly state they are the best pub in Britain according to the CAMRA's 90,000 membership.

Consumers demand a fair deal on beer tax (Press release will be issued on Monday 18th February with an embargo for Tuesday 00.01) - CAMRA will launch a new campaign to reduce beer duty to help save more pubs from closure. The beer consumer group is calling for a 1 penny reduction in next month's Budget to help reverse the trend towards home-drinking and encourage beer drinkers back into their local.

Beer drinkers in the UK currently pay the highest beer duty in Europe, 39p per pint for a 5% ABV beer. This compares to only 5p in France and 4p in Germany.

Community Pubs Week activity in your area

Thousands of pubs across Britain will be participating in Community Pubs Week by organising and promoting events to attract more local people to visit community pubs. To view a sample of what is happening please visit www.pubsweek.org/cpwevents

Some interesting pub trivia

The three most common pub names are:

* Red Lion
* Crown
* Royal Oak

The highest pub in Britain is:

* Tan Hill Inn, North Yorkshire 1,732 feet above sea level

The smallest pub in Britain is claimed by three pubs:

* The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
* The Lakeside Inn, Southport Merseyside
* The Smiths Arms, Godmanstone, Dorset

The largest pub in Britain is:

* The Regal, Cambridge

Longest pub name in Britain is:

* The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn, Stalybridge, Manchester

Shortest pub name in Britain is (there may be some other pubs that now use just one letter):

* Q in Stalybridge, Manchester

Oldest pub in Britain - Dispute amongst three:

* Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham 1189
* The Old Ferry Boat , St Ives, Cambridgeshire possibly 10th century
* Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, St Albans possibly 11th century.

Most South Westerly pub in Britain is:

* Turks Head, St Agnes Isles of Scilly

The Most Northerly Good Beer Guide pub in Britain is:

* Baltasound Hotel, Baltasound, Shetland

2008-02-11
PUNCHING ABOVE ITS WEIGHT.
Punch Taverns, the UK's largest pub company with 8,500 pubs, has made an offer for Mitchell's and Butlers; the 2,000 strong managed pub company. The offer comes after a disastrous property venture lost M&B 274m. The deal would create a new enlarged company owning more than one in six of all the pubs in the UK.

Iain Loe, CAMRA's Research and Information manager, comments M&B has a large well run pub estate many of which are unbranded and offer good quality real ale. However the directors have unfortunately been seduced by the lure of realising the perceived property value of the pub estate rather than building on a track record of a well run managed pub estate. The enlarged pub estate of 10,500 pubs would have enormous buying strength and the deal certainly raises serious competition concerns.

2008-01-26
ONE FOR THE ROAD.
UK brewer Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) has agreed to be bought by Carlsberg and Heineken for 7.8bn ($15.3bn).

S&N is the UK's largest brewer, with brands such as Newcastle Brown Ale and Foster's, and is the world's seventh largest brewer by sales volume.

The company is set to be split up between Carlsberg and Heineken when the takeover is completed.

S&N employs about 3,300 staff in the UK, with breweries in Manchester, Reading, Dunston and Tadcaster.

S&N received its first bid approach from Carlsberg and Heineken in October last year, when the two firms offered 720p-per-share. The approach was rejected, as were two further offers.

However, last week S&N said it had begun talks with the two firms when they proposed an 800p-per-share offer, an offer it has now agreed to.

"The S&N board believes that the consortium's offer delivers a fair value for S&N, reflecting its growth prospects, and will be recommending that shareholders accept," S&N said.

Heineken said it would achieve savings of 120m annually, new distribution in the UK and access to the UK's fast-growing cider market, as well as access to developing markets.

The break-up plan means Heineken will acquire S&N's British operations, including Strongbow cider and John Smith's beer.

Carlsberg said the benefits of the deal included full ownership of BBH - the Russian-based joint venture between it and S&N - plus exposure to growth markets and cost savings.

"For Carlsberg, it is a transformational transaction, which will deliver a major increase in its operational scale and long term growth prospects," said the firm's chief executive Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen.

"In a single step, we have created the world's fastest-growing global brewer."

"We now have full control of our destiny in Russia and other BBH territories and I am truly excited about the new opportunities this will present to us," he added.

Ownership of BBH, which owns Baltika beer, had led to a row after S&N said Carlsberg's role in the takeover approach had broken the joint-venture agreement.

S&N said guarantees from Heineken would be put in place regarding the company's UK pension scheme.

"As part of the agreement, Heineken will also accelerate the deficit payments previously agreed with S&N, with an injection shortly after closing 50m into the plan," the firm said.

The deal still requires approval by the European Commission as well as other competition bodies and is tipped to be completed by the second quarter.

Shares in Carlsberg, Heineken and Scottish & Newcastle all climbed more than 2% after the announcement.

2008-01-17
COOK IT UP SON.
Fiona Beckett, who writes regular columns in The Times, Sainsburys Magazine and Decanter, and her son Will Beckett, who co-owns the Underdog Pub Group, were announced winners of The Bishops Finger Beer with Food Award for Beer and Food Writing by the British Guild of Beer Writers at their Awards Dinner for the superb An Appetite for Ale, published by the Campaign for Real Ale.

An Appetite for Ale is the first cookbook to fully embrace the exciting new food phenomenon that celebrates beer as a culinary tour de force. Innovative chefs and traditional home cooks have long known that beer is brilliant in the kitchen. An Appetite for Ale shares this knowledge of beer as an ingredient, as a flavouring and as accompaniment for food and includes many recipes that have been created to show the versatility of ale and other beers, and the fantastic flavours they can bring to the kitchen and dining table.

Fiona and Will won 1,000 and a weekend break in a Shepherd Neame pub hotel for the winner and his / her partner.

Tim Hampson, The British Guild of Beer Writers Chairman said, The awards recognise the very best of beer writing. An Appetite for Ale is an exceptional piece of work. The knowledge and passion of the authors shine from every page.

Mr Hampson concluded, The book is at the forefront of the beer and food revolution that is taking place in Britain.

Roger Protz was also announced Runner-up for The Award For National Journalism 2007 specifically for his work on the book The Beer Lovers Guide to Cricket., also published by the Campaign for Real Ale. Judge Ben McFarland described it as, An exceptionally good read from cover to cover.

An Appetite for Ale, priced 19.99 (17.99 for CAMRA members) and The Beer Lovers Guide to Cricket, priced 16.99 (14.99 for CAMRA members) are available from CAMRA on 01727 867201 or www.camra.org.uk/shop

2008-01-03
LOGIC.
Whether or not they ever see the light of day, it cant be denied that some of the best ideas in human history have been formed over a pint in the pub. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has published Fuzzy Logic, a collection of these weird and wonderful revelations, and author Tom Waine is looking for the Great British public to submit their own eureka moments.

Some of the ideas in Fuzzy Logic include:

THE ASBO PHONE LOCK

Sick of the cringing embarrassment of waking up to remember that text to your ex at 3am? Not anymore with this alcohol sensitive mobile phone.

THE CHEESE EASTER EGG

For those who prefer savoury to sweet, try this egg-shaped cheesy treat.

TELESCOPIC HEEL STILETTOS

Ladies, never fear that agonising walk home from the pub again, with these ingenious and (possibly) stylish collapsible high heels.

THE HUMAN CATFLAP

Never get locked out in the cold again.

AND MANY MORE

Fuzzy Logic author Tom Waine said: Ever since there have been pubs, people have talked a load of nonsense in them. Every day of every week, pub geniuses across the land sit in the comfort of their local, dreaming up schemes to make a quick buck.

Ive been extremely fortunate to witness some truly magnificent tosh being talked in pubs all around the country, and the best ideas are all gathered in Fuzzy Logic. Other pub geniuses can log their ideas at www.pubideas.com .

2007-12-02
ALCOHOL IDEAS.
Whether or not they ever see the light of day, it cant be denied that some of the best ideas in human history have been formed over a pint in the pub. The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has published 'Fuzzy Logic', a collection of these weird and wonderful revelations, and author Tom Waine is looking for the Great British public to submit their own eureka moments.

Some of the ideas in Fuzzy Logic include:

THE ASBO PHONE LOCK

Sick of the cringing embarrassment of waking up to remember that text to your ex at 3am? Not anymore with this alcohol sensitive mobile phone.

THE CHEESE EASTER EGG

For those who prefer savoury to sweet, try this egg-shaped cheesy treat.

TELESCOPIC HEEL STILETTOS

Ladies, never fear that agonising walk home from the pub again, with these ingenious and (possibly) stylish collapsible high heels.

THE HUMAN CATFLAP

Never get locked out in the cold again.

AND MANY MORE

Fuzzy Logic author Tom Waine said: Ever since there have been pubs, people have talked a load of nonsense in them. Every day of every week, pub geniuses across the land sit in the comfort of their local, dreaming up schemes to make a quick buck.

Ive been extremely fortunate to witness some truly magnificent tosh being talked in pubs all around the country, and the best ideas are all gathered in Fuzzy Logic. Other pub geniuses can log their ideas at www.pubideas.com .

Fuzzy Logic is available direct from CAMRA at www.camra.org.uk/books , by calling 01727 867201, or from all good book shops

2007-11-08
FOODY BEER.
Britain should put its national drink back on the dining table and reclaim beer as the perfect accompaniment to food say award-winning food writer Fiona Beckett and her publican son Will. The pair were commissioned by CAMRA to write An Appetite for Ale, the first cookbook to comprehensively explore this potential of beer as a partner for modern British food. Beer drinking has been woven into the fabric of life in this country for centuries says Fiona. Its high time we valued our national drink as the ideal accompaniment to food that it has always been.

In many cases beer performs better than wine - especially with hard-to-match ingredients such as cheese, chocolate and spicy food. It has an incredible range of flavours such as chocolate, smoke and caramel that you simply dont find in wine. says Will who runs the award-winning Marquess Tavern in Islington, North London. Top chefs such as Raymond Blanc and Michel Roux now offer beer lists in their restaurants because they know how wonderfully diverse ale can be.

In An Appetite for Ale, the mother-and-son team have created a whole range of recipes to show the versatility of British ales and other beers from across the globe. Family favourites like Smoky Bacon Bolognese and Smoked Fish pie are given a beer-friendly twist while beer is incorporated in a range of appetising dishes such as Cottage Pie cooked with Porter and delectable beer jellies and sorbets

Other dishes have been created to match particular styles of beer. Combinations that will convert even the most ardent wine lover include Spicy Crab Crostini and witbier, Rogan Josh and India Pale Ale (IPA) and Chocolate and Cherry Roulade with Kriek (Belgian cherry flavoured beer). Meanwhile Wills beer know-how and down-to-earth tips will give you all the beer knowledge you need to come across as a genuine beer-buff.

The brilliant thing about the worlds best beers is that unlike the worlds best wines pretty well everybody can afford to enjoy them says Fiona. These days when were all concerned about the quality of our food and where it comes from, real ale is one of the best, most genuine artisan drinks you can buy.

COMPARING BEER WITH WINE

For those more accustomed to drinking wine than beer, it may be helpful to try a beer style nearest the wine you are familiar with.

* Dry white wines Light lagers, pilsners
* Medium to full bodied white wines (e.g. chardonnay) Golden and blonde ales
* Aromatic wines (sauvignon blanc, reisling) Witbiers
* Light reds Cherry and raspberry beers
* Medium bodied reds Amber Ales
* Full bodied reds Full bodied, malty British ales
* Dessert Wines Fruit beers
* Port Stouts, Porters, Barley wines
* Champagne and sparkling wine Pilsners, beer fermented with champagne yeasts.

DISHES IN AN APPETITE FOR ALE

A sample of the dishes and suggested beer matches taken from An Appetite for Ale;

SOUPS

Mushroom and mustard soup
Matched with: A porter or stout.
Try: Titanic Stout from Titanic Brewery, Stoke on Trent

PT

Ham and parsley pt
Matched with: A light summer beer
Try: Hop Back Summer Lightning from Hop Back Brewery, Wiltshire

PASTA

Roast butternut squash, chestnut & wild mushroom fusilli
Matched with: A robust English ale
Try: Shepherd Neame 1698 from Shepherd Neame, Kent

POULTRY

Pot roasted pheasant with bacon, onion, apple and spiced juniper cabbage.
Matched with: A Belgian red ale
Try: Rodenbach

MEAT

Sticky Barbeque Ribs
Matched with: A good porter
Try with: Meantime London Porter from Meantime Brewery in London.

DESSERTS

Chocolate and cherry roulade
Match with: Cherry beers
Try with: Liefmans Kreik.

2007-11-04
REFORMATION.
A doctor has called for the health impact of alcohol to be considered before drinks licences are granted. Dr Ruth Hussey, director of public health for north-west England, said being surrounded by licensed venues encouraged a drinking culture. Dr Hussey also wants officials to consider the level of alcohol-related hospital admissions.

The British Beer and Pub Association said restricting licences would have no impact on how much people would drink. But Dr Hussey said: "It's the environment that you're in that either makes it hard for you to follow a healthy lifestyle, or it makes it easy to follow a healthy lifestyle. If you're in an environment that says let's drink to excess... it actually makes it harder to exercise your own choice."

She also suggested the level of alcohol-related accident and emergency admissions should be taken into consideration when it came to granting new licences. But Mark Hastings, of the British Beer and Pub Association, said the proposals were both "barmy" and unrealistic.

He said: "Well, quite frankly it's a barmy idea and I think it demonstrates why I would be quite happy for a medic to give me a good old medical check-over but quite unhappy for them to write a business plan for me. There's absolutely no link at all between the number of licences in an area and the amount people drink."

Mr Hastings maintained that the amount of alcohol consumed nationally has fallen since the introduction of licences allowing longer drinking hours. However, Dr Hussey's proposals have won the support of the Royal College of Physicians. Its president, liver specialist Professor Ian Gilmore, said everything possible should be done to tackle the problem.

He said: "Alcohol misuse is becoming epidemic and dominating much of our work in hospitals. I am certainly concerned that the changes in licensing laws in this country didn't take account of the needs of public health."

Professor Gilmore said restricting licences would not solve the problem on its own, but should be part of a broader effort to tackle widespread excessive drinking. "I think it would be a step forward in the right direction if local authorities did consider the greater good when they are issuing licences. When I became a doctor 25 years ago, cirrhosis was a disease of middle-aged and elderly men. Now we're seeing it both sexes at all age groups, and the incidence has doubled in the last 10 years."

2007-11-01
GROWTH SPURT.
Industry experts are challenging suggestions that the much maligned cask ale market is in terminal decline, while consumer and market trends are converging to make cask the intelligent choice for beer retailers. Their findings are published today (26 September) in a new sector report, The Intelligent Choice, a unique alliance of industry and consumer groups.

Written by independent author Pete Brown and jointly published by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the Independent Family Brewers of Britain, the Society of Independent Brewers, the Cask Marque Trust and the Why Handpull group, the report paints a bright picture of Britains iconic, traditional and world famous tipple. Most notably, The Intelligent Choice presents evidence to dispel gloomy predictions that the cask ale market is in permanent decline.

Pete Brown said: How can cask ale be suffering this way when we have more brewers in the UK than at any one point in the last 50 years, many of whom are reporting soaring sales? The number of pubs stocking cask ale is increasing, while consumer group CAMRA is boasting record membership and bumper attendances at its beer festivals.

We feel we have overwhelming evidence to challenge the doom and gloom merchants outside of the trade that take one look at market data and conclude the British beer industry is in steep terminal decline.

The report suggests that the top-line five percent decline in the ale market gives a misleading impression since most of the losses come from the big four multinational brewers. They dominate the UK beer market and account for 56 percent of the total ale market, but are systematically withdrawing support from their cask brands. At the same time, where regional and local brewers are enthusiastically supporting their ales the market is seeing strong volume and growth. In fact, independent and local brewers are growing by an average of 7.5 percent year on year.

Pete said: If this trend continues cask ale is forecast to return to growth within the next few years, as the decline from the multinationals levels out.

Wherever people are actively investing in cask ale, they are reaping the rewards. Many regional brewers are seeing sustained growth in their brands and some are starting to become national in their scope and reach.

Additional headline findings published in The Intelligent Choice include:

* Good quality cask ale is good for pub businesses, accounting for as much as 40 percent of a pubs beer sales where it is kept well
* The social climate is right for a cask ale revival. Consumers are becoming increasingly affluent and show an interest in different and more complex flavours
* Forget style bars, the traditional pub is back in fashion, which suits cask ale products
* Consumers are starting to favour buying local produce and cask ale clocks up far fewer food miles than imported lager brands or wines
* The strength of the cask ale market is its diversity, from small craft brewers producing a few barrels a week, to fast growing regionals selling hundreds of thousands every year

Pete concludes: The cask ale market is more vibrant than ever, but if were being honest the one thing that has plagued it over the years is confusion in the minds of publicans, consumers and the media alike.

This report is unique in that it contains unified views from key industry figures and interpretation from an independent author. It is a supportive but honest look at cask ale, which we hope can be relied on for accurate and useful market information.

2007-10-25
GREEN BEER
CAMRA have lavished praise on a number of craft brewers who are making a contribution to combating global warming and reducing carbon emissions.

As the nation becomes increasingly concerned by issues such as climate change and recycling, the Good Beer Guide 2008 features several breweries that have pioneered eco-friendly brewing. Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz said: At a time when beer is blamed wrongly - for most of the problems of society, it's good to praise brewers who believe strongly in their local communities and combating global warming and carbon emissions.

Pride of place goes to Adnams, the family-owned brewery based in Southwold, Suffolk, whose Bitter and Broadside beers are national brands. Its brewhouse has an Energy Recovery System that recycles 100% of the steam created during the brewing process and uses it to heat 90% of the following brew. The Carbon Reduction Team at the University of East Anglia regularly monitors Adnams' CO2 output and recommends ways to reduce it. The brewery uses less glass in its bottles down by 34% -- and in total Adnams has reduced its CO2 emissions by 415 tonnes a year.

A new warehouse has been designed so that most of the buildings are below road level. The roofs have grass on top and rain water is collected for washing the buildings and is even used for employees' showers. Adnams sources most of its grain from local farmers to further reduce carbon output and it helps in the regular cleaning of Southwold's beaches.

Both the Freeminer Brewery in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and the Westerham Brewery in Kent have launched the first Free Trade beers in Britain. Both brewers import Fair Trade demerara sugar from a growers' co-operative in Malawi. Westerham's Freedom Ale has been so successful that sales in draught form have overtaken its mainstream British Bulldog.

Don Burgess at Freeminer has also been involved in a scheme to use grain grown by identifiable farms to boost local farmers against the power of agribusiness. Burgess works with Warminster Maltings, run by Robin Appel Associates, with a scheme called From Field to Firkin (a firkin is a 9-gallon beer cask). This enables brewers to have contracts with named farmers who specialise in growing Maris Otter barley. Maris Otter was de-listed by big farmers and maltsters as it is less high yielding than more modern varieties but it remains the preferred malting barley of craft brewers. Now brewers are given a Warranty of Origin so they know which farmer grow their barley and in which fields. Warminster has developed a directory of farms with details of soil type, domain and harvesting techniques.

2007-10-15
BETTER THAN THEN.
CAMRAs Good Beer Guide celebrates its 35th edition and according to new research more than 60% of pub-goers think todays pubs are better than those back in the 1970s when the guide was first published.

The Good Beer Guide, first published in 1974, is the only pub guide which is annually surveyed by CAMRAs beer loving membership, so the reader can be assured of the most up to date information on outstanding pubs in which they can find a pint of real ale. The guide lists the best 4,500 pubs for real ale in Britain and includes information on every brewery in the UK.

The pub industry has faced many different battles over the first 35 years of the Good Beer Guide and CAMRA has researched pub-goers to find out the following:

* Which pubs do they prefer - 1970s or Present Day?
* Why consumers made this choice
* What did they think the most significant change to pubs in the last 35 years had been

Over 800 beer lovers completed the online survey. The results were as follows:



Tony Jerome, CAMRAs Marketing Manager said, I think it is good news for the pub industry that pub-goers feel todays pubs are better than those in the 1970s when the Good Beer Guide was first issued. This improvement in pubs means it has never been as competitive as it is today to get in our guide.

Jerome continued, Nevertheless, the figures were very close when the question was only asked to those who could legally drink alcohol in pubs in 1974 and are now 51 years old or more. These people have more experience and better memories of the pubs in the 1970s and I think that a large number of pubs could still improve what they are offering the consumer today and should take notice of the results from this poll.

Highlights from the survey:

* 62% of the poll preferred todays pubs compared to those in the 1970s. But only 53% of the poll that were aged 51 years old or over, who could legally drink in 1974, thought that todays pubs were better.
* 45% of those that preferred pubs in the 1970s believe the pub felt More of a local in those days with 16% believing it offered a Better Atmosphere.
* 31% of those that prefer todays pubs do so because you can no longer smoke in pubs. The smoking issue seems to be of more concern to women, with 47% of women in the poll agreeing with this statement and 53% of the women aged 51 years old or more. Only 27% of all men polled and 30% of those aged 51 years old gave smoking as the reason for choosing present day pubs as their favourite.
* The improved Choice of Drinks was the most popular reason for men preferring present day pubs. 33% agreed with this statement.
* Almost 1 in 3 people feel that the Smoking ban has been the most significant change to pubs in the last 35 years, although those aged over 51 feel the Improved Beer Selection to be more significant.

Jerome concluded, The smoking ban will obviously have an impact on pubs but that doesnt necessarily have to be negative. Millions of people are set to return to pubs now that a ban on smoking has been enforced and licensees need to make sure that they are providing the service that these people want. Getting back to making the pub feel more of a local by being individual, creating a better atmosphere for people from all age groups to enjoy the same pub, dedicating areas for adults to socialise, making the pub appealing to women and improving the beer selection may improve many community pubs and therefore give them a better chance of making the 2009 Good Beer Guide.

2007-10-05
TOP TEN PUBS.
Only ten pubs from England and Wales, out of the thousands of entries that have appeared in the 35 editions of CAMRA's Good Beer Guide, have appeared in every issue since it was first published in 1974.

The Good Beer Guide is the only pub guide which is annually surveyed by CAMRA's beer loving membership, so the reader can be assured of the most up to date information on outstanding pubs in which to find a pint of real ale. The guide lists the best 4,500 pubs for real ale in Britain and includes information on every brewery in the UK.

Good Beer Guide Editor Roger Protz said, Any pubs that appear in the Good Beer Guide have to have been nominated by their local CAMRA branch after serving consistently high quality real ale. For any pub to have appeared in every edition for 35 years is remarkable, and it is only fitting that we applaud their dedication to the best in British beer.

CAMRA will award each of these super' pubs with a commemorative plaque to mark this outstanding achievement. All of the ten pubs hope to host a special 1970's themed party to celebrate their first inclusion in the guide and this amazing achievement of never being excluded since!

The 10 pubs, with a summary of their Good Beer Guide 2008 descriptions:

LONDON

# Star Tavern, 6 Belgrave Mews West, London (Belgravia) SW1X 8HT (020 72353019)
A Grade II listed building built in 1848, the Star is well known for its award winning ales and excellent food. The pub was reputedly used by members of the Great Train Robbery, and it is also associated with the notorious Lord Lucan.

# Buckingham Arms, 62 Petty France, London (Westminster) SW1H 9EU (020 72223386)
Located opposite the Wellington barracks and formerly a hat shop, this Grade II listed building became a pub in 1840. It has a curved mirrored bar and a drinking corridor used by the local working class during Victorian Times.

BEDFORDSHIRE

# Sow & Pigs, 14 Church Square, Toddington, Beds, LU5 6AA (01582 873089)
This 19th- century inn is heated by open fires, the long narrow bar is decorated with pigs, golf memorabilia and paintings of the pub by local artists.

CAMBRIDGESHIRE

# Queens Head, Fowlmere Road, Newton, Cambs. CB2 5PG (01223 870436)
Popular village establishment serving the local community, with a framed list of the 18 licensees since 1729 on display. Run by the same family for many years.

CORNWALL

# Blue Anchor, 50 Coinagehall Street, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 8EU (01326 562821)
Rambling, unspoilt 15th-century granite building with a thatched roof and its own brewery at the rear. There are no distracting games machines in the two small bars.

DEVON

# New Inn, The Hill, Kilmington, Devon, EX13 7SF (01297 33376)
Cosy, thatched Devon longhouse that was rebuilt after a major fire in 2004, but retains a warm atmosphere. Secluded gardens and the landlord's aviaries are attractive outdoor features, while a well used skittle alley is home to nine local teams.

DORSET

# Square & Compass, Worth Matravers, Dorset, BH19 3LF (01929 439229)
Run by generations of the Newman family for more than 100 years, this 200-year-old free house is a cosy haven in winter with roaring fires and flagstone floors. This local institution has its own museum and breathtaking views of the Jurassic coastline.

LIVERPOOL

# Roscoe Head, 24 Roscoe Street, Liverpool, L1 2SX (0151 7094365)
This traditional pub has been run by the same family for more than 20 years. Recently refurbished, it has retained the original layout with a tiny snug, bar, front parlour and back room.

NORTHUMBERLAND

# Star Inn, Netherton, Northumberland, NE65, 7HD (01669 630238)
Entering this unspoilt gem, privately owned and unchanged for 80 years, feels like entering the living room of someone's home. The beer is served on gravity straight from the entrance hall.

GWENT, WALES

# Cherry Tree, Forge Road, Tintern, Gwent, Wales, NP16 5TH (01291 689292)
Nestling on the steep wooded sides of the Anghidy Valley amid scenic splendour, the Cherry offers four real ales from smaller independents plus cask and bottled ciders. The pub's ground floor is the village shop and post office.

The Good Beer Guide 2008 features 53 new breweries and 1203 pubs nationwide that appear for the first time.*

Protz added: Every year we see an increasing number of breweries springing up across the country that are brewing fantastic beer. A recent report showed that ale drinking has increased by 8%** across the UK in the last year - despite the insistence of the big brewers that real ale is not profitable.

2007-09-25
MENU ITEMS.
The finest beers in the land have been matched with traditional food by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and Food from Britain.

Each year at the festival CAMRA holds its Champion Beer of Britain competition in a quest to find the best real ale in the UK. The Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners have been matched with fine food from across the UK in association with Food from Britain - who sponsor the competition.

Champion Beers of Britain 2007.

Gold: Hobsons Mild from Hobsons brewery in Shropshire.
A classic mild. Complex layers of taste come from roasted malts that predominate and give lots of flavour.

Drinkers in Shropshire are spoilt for choice - not only is the county the home of the UK Slow Food movement, but it's blessed with a plethora of great regional food producers.

Why not make things especially easy by treating yourself to a sausage from the Ludlow Sausage Company, which through its Ludlow Sausage Trail also delivers Hobsons' beers along with its freerange meat.

Silver: Maldon Gold from Mighty Oak brewery in Essex.
Golden ale with a floral aroma and hints of lemon peel. Earthier hop tones are off-set by sweet vanilla in the taste.

Sampling Essex oysters is essential for any visiting beer and food fan and you can't beat a dozen washed down with Maldon Gold, or try using the shellfish in a range of great recipes using local produce. See >a href="http://www.maldonoyster.com/recipes.asp">www.maldonoyster.com/recipes.asp for some inspiration.

Bronze: Ripper from Green Jack brewery in Suffolk.
A light coloured beer brewed as a homage to Belgian trappist ales, with sweet notes and a strong hoppy flavour.

The wonderful Ripper beer deserves an equally robust and flavoursome partner, so why not introduce it to the creamy, soft, luxurious and blue-veined Suffolk Blue. See www.suffolkcheese.co.uk to find out where you can get hold of this Suffolk cheese.

Charlotte Lawson, Director Food from Britain, said: We are delighted to be the sponsors of the Champion Beer of Britain Awards and be involved for the second year running. It reflects how important local beers are to Britain's quality regional food and drink offer.

2007-09-11
WOMAN MEETS ALE.
New research from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) suggests that 8 out of 10 women have never tried real ale in a pub and CAMRA feels that brewers and pubs should consider targeting their marketing at women drinkers.

Reports suggest the ale market is in recovery after a dozen years of decline, and consumers are increasingly turning away from global brands in favour of local and regional real ales. CAMRA is calling on brewers to make beers more appealing to women in its campaign to revitalise the real ale market.

At present 25% of CAMRA's 87,000 strong membership are women. CAMRA's first woman Chairman Paula Waters said: Beer is marketed at men, and therefore there has been very little to interest women. When is the last time you saw any press or TV advert for beer which is meant to attract women? At best they are inoffensively aimed at men and at worst they are down right patronising to women. More and more we see products that have been traditionally aimed at one gender - such as skincare products or cars - increasingly aimed at the other sex with great results. If breweries and pubs were to involve and educate women drinkers then they can tap into a massive market and further the real ale revolution.

CAMRA, in partnership with breweries, has introduced a revolutionary tasting scheme called Cyclops, which describes in simple language what a beer will look, smell and taste like. It also gives a mark out of five for sweetness and bitterness. Since its launch exactly a year ago at the Great British Beer Festival the scheme has enjoyed remarkable success with more than 40 breweries now on board covering approximately 250 beer brands.

In the belief that Cyclops is a way to encourage more women to try ale, CAMRA is urging more brewers to adopt the Cyclops tasting scheme that will feature at the Great British Beer Festival. Beer is a wonderfully diverse drink with an incredible range of styles and the time has never been better to attract women looking for a lower alcohol alternative to wine.

Paula Waters said: Since its launch at the Great British Beer Festival only 12 months ago the Cyclops scheme has gone from strength to strength and now covers over 250 real ales. Breweries that adopt the scheme will find it helps attract women to try beer by demystifying often complex and challenging flavours. If we can get women to try real ales and find a style they like, there will be no going back. The Great British Beer Festival is a perfect place to get started.

Following a successful trial at the 2006 Great British Beer Festival CAMRA has introduced stemmed third of pint glasses. For the first time third of pint measures will also be included on all pint and half pint glasses.

Previous CAMRA research has shown one in three women believe that drinking from a pint glass is unfeminine. In addition 37% of women pub goers aged 18 - 24 said they would drink real ale if it was served in a more stylish glass.

Paula Waters commented: Nowadays people care about their image when they are out, as well as what is in the glass. Stylish glassware has boosted the sales of imported Belgian beers and there is no reason why a similar approach could not work for British real ale.

In addition, smaller measures such as a third of a pint allow people to try more of the beers we have on offer at the festival without exceeding their limits.

2007-09-07
NOT QUITE STUBBED OUT.
Pubs group JD Wetherspoon has unveiled a jump in profits, but warned the recent smoking ban in England could crimp profits in the current year.

Like-for-like sales were just 1.1% higher in August, against a 5.3% rise in July, a month after the smoking ban came into force in England in July. As a result the firm warned its outlook for like-for-like sales in 2008 remained "cautious".

The alert came as Wetherspoon said full year pre-tax profits rose 9% to 62m. The group added that the figures for the year to July 29 had been buoyed by a 5.6% rise in like-for-like sales, driven by growing food sales. A combination of food sales and drinks bought to go with table meals now accounts for about two thirds of Wetherspoon's sales.

"Given the smoking bans and our experience in Scotland, our outlook for like-for-like sales for the 2008 financial year remains cautious, as it involves more uncertainty than usual," chairman Tim Martin said. "Although we have no doubt that this legislation will be to the long-term benefit of the licensed trade."

2007-09-03
SAVE THE WORLD - DRINK!
Drinking real ale from a local brewery in a local pub will help the environment claims CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. As home-drinking hits record levels, the consumer group is calling on drinkers to swap their armchairs for the barstool at their local to enjoy a real ale produced by a local brewery. 46% of UK beer sales are in cans or non-returnable bottles, producing a huge amount of waste.

Mike Benner, Chief Executive said, We're all becoming more environmentally conscious and drinking a local real ale in a pub is one way of making a small but significant contribution to save the World and promote local economies in a food and drink market dominated by global companies. Draught real ale means no wasted beer cans or bottles and if you choose a locally brewed beer, you'll help reduce unnecessary beer miles.

New research shows that 54% of adults would like to see at least one local beer in every pub, yet too many pubs still stick to the usual global beers offering no local alternative, says CAMRA. Choosing local beers also helps boost the local economy as it has a multiplying effect, keeping money and jobs in the community and making companies more responsive to local needs.

Mike Benner said, The real ale revolution means there are around 600 real ale breweries in Britain. That means there are few places without a truly local brewer on their doorstep, so why do we still see so many beers trunked up and down our motorways? The demand for local beer is clearly there, so the pub industry needs to act to deliver what consumers want and what the environment needs.

CAMRA claims that local real ale enjoyed in a pub is the most sustainable choice because:

# It boosts the local economy creating jobs
# It reduces unnecessary beer miles'
# It boosts sustainability through promoting a sense of pride, provenance and identity to communities across Britain
# Acts as a counterweight to beers from huge distant global companies
# Reduces packaging waste through reusable casks which can last up to 20 years
# Reduces energy used in the pub as the beer is served naturally cool, not superchilled, through a handpull which requires no electricity!
# Supports the principles of the Sustainable Communities Bill through promoting local pubs and brewers

Jeanette Longfield, Co-coordinator of Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, said, Sustain has long been concerned about the impact of the food and drink industry on sustainable development. CAMRA's excellent campaigns for locally brewed, distinctive beers can not only cut down on unnecessary and damaging transport, but also provide local jobs and stimulate interest in high quality ingredients for drinks and food."

CAMRA has also hit out at the recent obsession with superchilled' beers, often cooled down to 1 or 2 degrees in the pub.

Mr. Benner said, Real ale is pleasantly and naturally cool, served at 10-13 degrees, so much less energy is used cooling the beer. No one likes warm beer, but the obsession with cooling beer down to such unnatural levels is surely at odds with an environmentally friendly approach and it's time for brewers to put flavour efore near-freezing temperatures.

2007-08-24
DRINK AND WORK DON'T MIX.
Bar staff 'highest alcohol risk'

Bar staff are the mostly likely workers to die of alcohol-related problems, figures for England and Wales indicate. The Office for National Statistics data shows bar staff are twice as likely as average to die from conditions such as liver disease or pancreatitis. Least likely to die, according to the figures from 2001 to 2005, were farmers among men and educational assistants among women.

Last year the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed alcohol deaths, which include poisoning but not alcohol-induced accidents, topped 8,000 in 2005, up from just above 4,000 in 1991. The latest study looked at 13,011 deaths among men aged 20 to 64 and 3,655 deaths among women. It showed male bar staff were 2.23 times more liked to die from alcohol than average, while their female colleagues were 2.03 times more likely.

Male seafarers, including those in the navy, were the second highest-risk group - 2.16 times more likely to die. For women it was bar managers - 1.93 times more likely.

2007-08-23
BEER TODAY, GONE TOMORROW.
15,000 pints of real ale stolen on its way to the Great British Beer Festival. A lorry packed full of real ale was stolen from a hauliers yard in Lincoln, on its way to satisfy the 60,000 thirsty beer drinkers expected at the Great British Beer Festival at London's Earls Court. But organisers, the Campaign for Real Ale, with the help of the Small Beer Agency and several brewers have already sourced replacement beer.

Marc Holmes, Organiser of the Festival said, We knew it was going to be popular, but we've never had the beer stolen before! 15,000 pints is a lot of beer, but no one will be disappointed as we have another 335000 pints already here and we hope to have the missing beer replaced by Monday morning.

Tony Eastwood, Managing Director of Small Beer said, Crisis averted, we pulled out all the stops to get the beer to London by the Monday morning and it was ready to drink for the opening on Tuesday. I'd like to thank Dave Scott and Glyn Williams at Small Beer for working so hard today to find replacement beer, to the brewers for rising to the challenge and to Tom Wood of Highwood for letting us borrow a truck and driver to replace our stolen vehicle.

Marc Holmes said, It's amazing to see how brewers have pulled together today to make sure that no one visiting the Festival will miss out.

2007-08-10
ICE COLD ON LAGER.
Lager sales are falling as drinkers choose more sophisticated options, according to market researchers Mintel.

UK lager sales have fallen by 5% since 2005, according to Mintel, and the firm predicts that they will fall by another 8% by 2012.

That means the average lager drinker in the UK will get through 19 fewer pints in 2012 than they will this year.

Cider sales have grown 14% in the past two years while wine sales have risen by 6% in the same period.

"UK drinkers are becoming much more sophisticated when it comes to alcohol and this trend looks set to continue," said Mintel senior market analyst Katy Child.

The biggest boom in the past two years has come from ros wine, sales of which have risen 188%.

Lager sales have moved from the pub to the supermarket.

In 2002, 80% of lager was bought in pubs, clubs and bars, but today that figure is down to 70%.

2007-08-08
FESTIVAL DELIGHTS.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is gearing up to celebrate 30th years of its flagship Great British Beer Festival by welcoming more than 280 breweries from across the UK as the revival of real ale hits a new high.

The Great British Beer Festival started in 1977 at Alexandra Palace in London and attendance was modest. It has moved from Leeds to Birmingham to Brighton and back again, before settling in London from 1991 to the present. In the last 31 years only one Great British Beer Festival had to be cancelled following a fire in Birminghams Bingley Hall in 1984.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: Last year demonstrated how the event has evolved in the three decades of its life. It had outgrown its old home at Londons Olympia and so moved to the larger and more accessible Earls Court. More than 67,000 people came through the doors throughout the course of the week an increase in attendance of more than 40% on 2005. CAMRA also welcomed the millionth Great British Beer Festival visitor and introduced a revolutionary tasting scheme called Cyclops which simplifies the look, smell and taste of real ale into easy to understand language.

In 2007 the festival has evolved further. Its popularity has led us to order in an extra 43,200 pints taking the total to more than 340,000. There are more than 700 real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers at the show, and the great food, games and live entertainment guarantee that a good time will be had by all.

For the first time you can sample a third of a pint. There is also the VISCOUNT bar to showcase organic beer and real ale suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs, plus tutored tasting with renowned beer experts such as Good Beer Guide Editor Roger Protz.

Festival highlights in 2007:

* Beer from over 280 brewers across all CAMRA regions across the UK.
* The announcement of the best Champion Beer of Britain from more than 2,500 currently brewed. Tuesday August 7th at around 3pm.
* Several new beers make their debut at the festival, including the exclusive launch of a new organic beer from Prince Charles Duchy Original brand, and Nightwatchman brewed for England Swing Bowler Matthew Hoggard by Marstons.
* New CAMRA research has found that Margaret Thatcher is the Prime Minister over the last 30 years that most people would like to share a beer with at the Great British Beer Festival.

For a full county-by county list of breweries at the Great British Beer Festival visit www.gbbf.org.uk

2007-08-07
GREENE COD AND CHIPS?
Brewer and pub owner Greene King has bought seafood chain Loch Fyne for 68.1m, and says it sees the potential to double the size of the chain.

The restaurant chain, which started in Scotland, has 36 branches mainly in southern England and is expected to earn about 8m in the coming 12 months.

Greene King and other pub firms are looking to expand in order to offset the effects of England's smoking ban.

The worry is that consumers will turn away from pubs now they cannot smoke.

Other firms have been moving into the restaurant business including Laurel Pub Company's 123m purchase of tapas chain La Tasca and Ultimate Leisure's 28m acquisition of restaurant business The Living Room.

"Loch Fyne is a high quality, well-respected British brand which gives us greater access to the premium end of the market," said Rooney Anand, Greene King's chief executive.

Loch Fyne was started in 1977 as an oyster bar on the banks of the lake in Cairndow, Argyll and Bute.

2007-07-30
GREAT BRITISH BEER FESTIVAL.
The Great British Beer Festival is 30 years young, and to celebrate CAMRA wants this years festival to be better than ever before.

2006 saw the festival move from its old home at Londons Olympia to the more accessible Earls Court. This step led to more than a 40% increase in visitors to more than 66,000 people.

In 2007 at its official 30th birthday, the festival will include:

* Over 450 of the UK's finest ales from the smallest microbreweries to some of Britain's best known beers.
* A Bottled Beer Bar offering more than 100 varieties of real ale in a bottle.
* The prestigious CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain 2007 will be announced on Tuesday August 7th during the trade session.
* Beers from around the world at Bires Sans Frontires, including Germany, Belgium, Italy, USA and the Czech Republic.
* A wide variety of unique and tasty ciders and perries from some of the UK's finest independent producers.
* Tutored beer tastings with brewing experts
* Full liquid pints guaranteed thanks to the use of oversized lined glasses.
* A great selection of delicious food
* Live Music
* Pub games
* A family room for under 18's.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: The success of last years festival was simply phenomenal and we were delighted to have brought great real ale to so many people that visited Earls Court.

CAMRA has worked hard to make sure this year is even better, and that the Great British Beer Festival remains the highlight of the summer for beer lovers for many years to come.

2007-07-27
'V'
Archers Brewery has been bought by a private investor and has come out of administration. The Swindon brewer, which hit financial problems earlier this month, is now owned by John Williams, a local businessman.

Although Archers has continued trading since the adminstrators were called in, uncertainty over its future had caused concern for customers. Archer business development manager Chris Rossi told the Morning Advertiser: Were absolutely delighted to have a new owner and we look forward to a very healthy future.

Archers, which is based in the Great Western Railway locomotive works in Swindon, brews award-winning ales for the independent pub sector. It ran into difficulties due to cash flow problems. It also has its own transport fleet, which enables it to serve the whole of the UK through its distribution outlets. It brews around 10,000 barrels a year and currently employs 20 people.

2007-07-20
TREE RINGS.
Marston's has bought Ringwood Brewery for 19.2 million. Ringwood was established in 1978. Its brands include award winning beers such as Ringwood Best Bitter, Old Thumper and Fortyniner. The business supplies approximately 700 customers, predominantly in the South of England.

This transaction is consistent with Marston's strategy of developing a portfolio of well-established premium regional beer brands to complement the core Marston's range led by Pedigree. It also fits well with Marston's recent purchase of the Eldridge Pope estate and strengthens the Company's position further in the South of
England.

Ringwood also owns seven high quality, freehold, traditional pubs which will be incorporated into the Marston's Pub Company estate. Marston's is committed to the acquired brewery which will continue to brew all Ringwood brands as well as serve as a base for operations in the region. Commenting on the acquisition Alistair Darby, managing director of Marston's Beer Company, said: "We are delighted to welcome Ringwood to Marston's. We plan to develop its excellent brands as part of our strategy to meet consumer demand for premium ales with local provenance and heritage. Our premium ale business continues to deliver good, consistent growth and we look forward to replicating the success of the Jennings business through Ringwood in the South of England."

2007-07-19
BITTER A&E.
The introduction of 24-hour drinking laws may have trebled alcohol-related admissions to A&E departments in inner city areas at night, researchers say. A study at London's St Thomas' Hospital compared overnight visits before and after the 2005 law change. There were 80 alcohol-related visits in March 2005. This hit 250 in 2006, the Emergency Medicine Journal said.

Critics say data from one hospital cannot be applied to the whole of England and Wales. However, the authors, who examined the emergency department at St Thomas' Hospital, said their study was representative of the problems in inner city areas across the country.

"If reproduced over longer time periods and across the UK as a whole, the additional numbers of patients presenting to emergency care could be very substantial," they said. The figures, the authors suggest, "indicate that the legislation has had the opposite effect to that intended".

While those opposed to the November 2005 Licensing Act argued it would increase drink-related problems such as violence and illness, evidence up until now has either shown there has been little change or some reduction. In November 2006 - one year on from the act - several NHS trusts reported that they had yet to see any adverse changes. Two other studies, meanwhile, suggested that in some areas the level of violence had decreased - leading in turn to a fall in people arriving at A&E with alcohol-related assault injuries. However, these studies did not take into account those arriving with health problems or self-inflicted injuries apparently caused by excess drinking.

Taking all these together, researchers at St Thomas' Hospital found that alcohol-related admissions trebled over that year. The percentage change was slightly less dramatic, up from 3% of total visits in 2005 to 8% in 2006.

The researchers accepted that one of the reasons for the increase could be increased awareness among A&E doctors about alcohol-related problems. This followed the intense media coverage of the introduction of the Licensing Act and its potential implications, they added. But they said doctors had received no extra training, nor were they aware that a study was taking place.

Both the Department of Health and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, which was behind the legislation, were dismissive of the findings, noting that the study only related to one hospital in one particular month.

The British Beer and Pub Association, meanwhile, stressed that alcohol sales across the country fell in 2006, and that the volume sold specifically through pubs and bars fell by more than 2%. Many pubs have not applied for late licenses and those which have done so successfully are only staying open for an extra hour or so.

A spokesman for Alcohol Concern said: "It was always unlikely that a change in opening hours alone was going to move us to a continental style of drinking. Cheaper, non-alcoholic options, more food options, and 'cool off' zones within their establishments would all go a long way to minimising the risk of harm to revellers."

2007-07-11
HALF A CROWN.
The Campaign for Real Ale's (CAMRA's) Scottish Traditional Beer Festival is offerEed visitors the Shilling Experience - a chance to try beer styles completely unique to Scotland.

Shilling Ales were named after the amount of excise duty levied on each barrel in the 19th century. The beers flavour reflecting the natural, local ingredients available to Scottish brewers. They tend to be darker, sweeter and less heavily hopped than other British beers.

The traditional, classic styles are 60/- (Light), 70/- (Heavy), 80/- (Export) and 90/- (Strong Wee Heavy). The Shilling Experience will feature a range of traditional Shilling Ales including Belhaven 60/-, 70/-, 80/- & 90/- and Caledonian 80/-, plus a selection of newer interpretations from the smaller new breweries including Exciseman's 80/- from Broughton, Fowlers' Prestonpans 80/- and Stewarts 80/-.

Ian Brocklebank, Chair of the CAMRA Light and Dark Supporters Group, said, The Shilling Experience is a fantastic showcase for Real Ale from small and regional producers, who reflect the best of the ingredients and the demands of the drinkers. Anyone who hasn't tried these excellent ales before should grab the chance.

2007-07-11
TALL, DARK AND HANDSOME.
Finding the right beer style for you is much like trying to find the perfect drinking partner, so the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has come up with characters that best describe traditional British beers.

Leeds based illustrator Christine Joplin has come up with quirky cartoon characters that represent Mild, Light Bitter, Porters, Stouts and Old Ales five of the most traditional and flavoursome beer styles.

The Characters

CHARACTER OF A DARK MILD: Usually tall, dark and mysterious. Smooth, suave and effortlessly tasteful.

CHARACTER OF A LIGHT BITTER: Blonde and bright, refreshing lively while being cool and easygoing. Fun and feisty company.

CHARACTER OF OLD ALE: Demands respect, Old Ale is formidable but friendly, mature but robust.

CHARACTER OF PORTER AND STOUT: These are distinguished dudes with smooth characters. Recognisable by their rich dark bodies and thick creamy heads.

CAMRA Press Officer Owen Morris said: The superb versatility of British beer means that there is a style to suit everyone. However people that are new to real ale may not know what to expect. These cartoon characters are fun and also provide an insight into what to expect from the beer.

Arouse your interest with a smooth and mysterious dark mild, or find favour in a fun and feisty light bitter. Become engrossed in a formidable old ale, or relax with smooth stout and porter. Whatever your character, there is a beer style to match.

CAMRA has produced posters, leaflets and pump clip crowners featuring the characters so that licensees can advertise the beers in their pubs.

Promotional material is available to order from CAMRA by contacting cressida.feiler@camra.org.uk or calling 01727 867201.

2007-07-05
BEST IN THE WEST.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has revealed the Greetland Community & Sporting Association in the village of Greetland, near Halifax, is its Club of the Year 2007.

Judges were impressed by the clubs central role in the community and diversity of usage and membership.

John Holland, Chairman of CAMRAs Clubs Committee, said: This widely used club is a true centre of the community with young and old members mixing well with members of the local sports teams to enjoy very good quality, fairly priced beers.

CAMRA is delighted to award this title to Greetland Community & Sporting Association in what was another close contest between the finalists.

The club, first opened in 1981, was a finalist in the Club of the Year competition in 2005 but was pipped to the title by the Hastings Club in Lytham, Lancashire.

The club steward, Mr Ian Sinclair said: We are simply elated by this award. We were thrilled to be a finalist a couple of years ago but to be named as the best club in the UK by CAMRA this year is just a pinnacle for my staff and I.

The secret to the success of the club is simple. We scour Britain for the best real ales in the land and make sure they are always in peak condition when they are served. Our members love the fact we have six handpumps on permanently with the finest ales.

Other finalists in the competition were (in no particular order):

* Cheltenham Motor Club, - Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
* Coombs Wood Sports & Social Club Halesowen, West Midlands
* Dartford Working Men Club, - Dartford, Kent.

John Holland added: Once again we had a very high standard of entries and the final decision was a tough one, with all the clubs demonstrating a strong commitment to real ale.

2007-06-28
CZECH MATE.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is proud to release The Good Beer Guide Prague & the Czech Republic, an independent guide to more than 100 Czech breweries, 450 different beers, and over 100 great places to try them, allowing travellers to embrace the Czech drinking experience.

The Czech Republic has been called the world's greatest beer-drinking nation, consuming over 281 pints per capita each year. With listings and ratings for virtually every Czech beers, The Good Beer Guide Prague & the Czech Republic lets readers "go native," escape the crowds and discover some truly remarkable beers, many of which are unknown outside their homelands.

The Good Beer Guide Prague & the Czech Republic tells readers how to:

* Take a full-body beer bath at the family-owned Chodovar brewery.
* Enjoy a free, open-air rock concert at the Pelhrimov brewery.
* Taste 30 independent Czech beers at a locals-only beer festival in Olomouc.
* Stay in a medieval brewery-hotel in the hilltop citadel town of Stramberk.
* Drink the country's strongest beer, X-33, with 12.6% alcohol and the taste of a fine Sauternes.
* Mix with the locals in a tram-theme pub inside a tram yard, hidden away from the crowds in a quiet corner of Prague.
* Shop for more than 200 bottles of Czech beer at one of Prague's specialty beer shops.
* Discover the difference between unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell (only available in the Czech Republic) and the exported version.

Author Evan Rail moved to Prague in 2000 for what was supposed to be a single year, but having discovered the wonders of Czech beers, he decided to stay. He has devoted six years to tracking down the best beers throughout the ancient kingdoms of Bohemia and Moravia, the two halves that make up todays Czech Republic.

Evan Rail said: "It may sound strange to talk about drinking beer as a life-changing experience. But these Czech beers are unlike anything I've ever tasted: richly malty, highly aromatic and incredibly hoppy. Most of them are completely unknown outside the country. It really is one of the world's greatest beer-drinking secrets."

Millions of travellers have already been enchanted by Prague, one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. This book is for those who want to discover arguably the world's greatest beers in the world's greatest beer drinking nation.

The Good Beer Guide Prague & the Czech Republic is available from CAMRA and all good bookshops, priced 12.99. Visit www.camra.org.uk/books to order a copy today.

2007-06-19
THE BAN IS COMING!
beer

2007-06-14
STUMPED.
You're never stumped for a good pint with new CAMRA book for beer and cricket fans. Beer and cricket have gone hand in hand since the birth of the game, and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is proud to release The Beer Lover's Guide to Cricket, the first book to explore this happy partnership.

The Beer Lover's Guide to Cricket is launching at a time when there has never been greater interest in the national summer game, what with the World Cup and now the recent Test Series against the West Indies.

Written by award-winning writer Roger Protz, The Beer Lover's Guide to Cricket contains profiles of all the First Class County Grounds and the best pubs for real ale near each ground. Roger Protz says there has always been a close association between beer and cricket, continued today with Marston's sponsorship of the England team.

The inspiration for the book came when he paid a visit to the world-famous Bat & Ball pub in Hambledon, Hampshire, renowned as the birthplace of the modern game. Protz said: "When cricket was first played on Broadhalfpenny Down across the road from the pub, the wicket was made up of two tiny stumps, bats were curved like hockey sticks and the ball was rolled along the ground. By the time the game moved from Hambledon to London, it had evolved to being closer to the game we know today, but the joy of a good pint while watching a few overs has never changed. Whether the sun is shining or rain stops play the book shows that spectators are never far from a good pub serving tip-top real ale.

The Beer Lover's Guide to Cricket includes details on:

Real ales served at pubs near the ground.
If the pub serves food
Public transport information
Car Parks
Accommodation at the pub.

Protz added: The book includes profiles of the First Class grounds and their museums that trace the histories of the counties and details of such memorable games as the Edgabston Test of 2005, Ian Botham's demolition of the Australians at Headingley in 1981 and, with a history of the game in Scotland, a reminder of Douglas Jardine's infamous Bodyline tour Down Under in 1932-33. For any fan of beer and cricket, this book is a great all-rounder!

The Beer Lover's Guide to Cricket is available in all good bookshops or direct from CAMRA priced 16.99. Call 01727 867201 or go to www.camra.org.uk/books

2007-06-13
NOT THE BARS YOU WANTED.
Two parents have been jailed for serving beer at their son's 16th birthday party.

The Americans started a two-year prison sentence for serving beer and other alcohol at their son's 16th birthday party, authorities said.

The drinking age in the United States is 21, but Elisa Kelly, 42, and George Robinson, 52, decided to buy alcohol for their son Ryan's party, which was attended by about 30 people between 12 and 18 years old, on August 16, 2002.

Concerned that the teenagers would drink without supervision, the parents said they had bought alcohol with the understanding that the teens would spend the night at their place and collected half a dozen car keys to prevent drunk-driving.

After receiving three calls reporting possible underage drinking, police broke up the party near Charlottesville, Virginia, and arrested Kelly and Robinson.

The parents, who have since divorced, were sentenced to four years and six months in prison - six months for each of the nine teenagers who were found to have measurable levels of alcohol in their system. Half the sentence was suspended.

Robinson and Kelly had appealed the sentence all the way up to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear their case on May 21.

2007-05-28
EMPTY IS THE NEW FULL.
A new survey by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has today revealed that one in four pints in the UK are served less than 95% full and this is costing beer drinkers a staggering 481 million every year! CAMRA has today launched a nationwide petition calling for the Government to end short measures as they promised a decade ago.

For the first time in its 35 year history, CAMRA has taken out advertisements in national media* in order to let consumers know how to make a stand against this unfair practice.

The CAMRA survey of local authorities' trading standards departments has revealed:

# A shocking 26.6% of all pints served are over 5% short measure
# The worst example found was 13% short of a full pint
# 76% of pubs goers want the Government to stick to its promise to ensure drinkers get a full pint

Beer drinkers lose 1.3 million every day by paying for a full pint but receiving less than 100% liquid in the glass.

Labour had made an election promise to legislate against short measures in 1997. This promise has not been fulfilled and has cost the consumer 4.5 billion over the last decade.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: It is a disgrace that up to a quarter of all pints served in the UK are less than 95% liquid when the consumer is paying for a full pint every time. Labour had promised to introduce legislation to end this unfair practice ten years ago and the continuing cost to beer drinkers from the Government's inaction has now run into billions of pounds.

CAMRA has set up a petition for consumers calling for the government to introduce legislation that a pint will not be less than 100% liquid. As well as being online at www.takeittothetop.co.uk , copies of the petition will be at CAMRA beer festivals across the UK. Petition postcards will be sent out to CAMRA's 85,000 strong membership nationwide to sign.

Mike Benner added: This is not just a problem that affects real ale drinkers. Lager drinkers and cider drinkers are being short changed too.

It is time the Government met its promise and made sure pub goers get the full pint that they pay for every time. I would urge all beer drinkers that are fed up with being ripped off at the bar to sign CAMRA's Take it to the top' petition and help us make a difference.

2007-05-20
BEER TO YEAR.
The Great British Beer Festival will be hosted this year at Earls Court between Tuesday 7th and Saturday 11th August

Last year was the first time that the Showcase of British Beer had been hosted at Earls Court following 14 successful years at London Olympia. Over 66,000 people attended the Great British Beer Festival in 2006, smashing record crowds by 18,000!

Over 700 tasty tipples from the smallest microbreweries and large regional brewers have been handpicked for visitors to try. More than ever before! These include wheat beers, ciders, golden ales, stouts, porters, bitters, milds, bottle-conditioned beers, perries and real lagers from all over the world.

This year the festival will include:

* Over 450 of the UKs finest ales from the smallest microbreweries to some of Britains best known beers.
* A Bottled Beer Bar offering more than 100 varieties of real ale in a bottle.
* The prestigious CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain 2007 will be announced on Tuesday August 7th during the trade session.
* Beers from around the world at Bires Sans Frontires, including Germany, Belgium, Italy, USA and the Czech Republic.
* A wide variety of unique and tasty ciders and perries from some of the UKs finest independent producers.
* Tutored beer tastings with brewing experts
* Full liquid pints guaranteed thanks to the use of oversized lined glasses.
* A great selection of delicious food
* Live Music
* A family room for under 18s.

A Limited amount of tickets are available to the media for use as competition prizes (Contact the Press Office on the number below.)

Corporate Hospitality - For work colleagues or clients, we are able to offer a variety of packages to suit most tastes and budgets. Please contact georgina.rudman@camra.org.uk

Tony Jerome, CAMRA Marketing Manager said, Nobody could have predicted the success of moving to Earls Court and we were amazed that more than 66,000 people visited the event in 2006. Earls Court offers a larger venue than London Olympia and gives us the opportunity to offer more variety of beer to our visitors. This success is a testament to how hard the 1000 volunteers work at the Great British Beer Festival.

The festival is not only about the ale! You will also be able to enjoy food, live music, entertainment, games, tombolas, and quizzes in the comfort of a family friendly atmosphere. Why not catch up and socialise with friends, unwind after work, or just soak up the festival atmosphere!

Win Great British Beer Festival tickets!

CAMRA has a limited number of tickets available for newspaper and radio competition prizes. Contact CAMRA Press Officer Owen Morris on 01727 798443 for details.

Opening Times & Prices - Save money, avoid the queues and book your tickets today!

Tuesday 7th August Trade Session 12.00-17.00:
Admission to trade by advance ticket only

Tuesday 7th August 17.00-22.30:
Admission 6.00, CAMRA members 5.00

Wednesday 8th August Noon-22.30:
Admission 6.00, CAMRA members 5.00

Thursday 9th August Noon-22.30:
Admission 6.00, CAMRA members 5.00

Friday 10th August Noon-22.30:
Admission 6.00, CAMRA members 5.00

Saturday 5th August 11.00-19.00:
Admission 5.00, CAMRA members 3.00

The above are the advance ticket prices, please note that tickets purchased on the door are priced at:

6.00 for members Tue-Fri and 8.00 non-members Tue-Fri

4.00 members and 6.00 non-members Saturday

To purchase tickets please visit our online booking site www.gbbf.org or call our booking hotline on 0870 380 0150.

CAMRA members' will receive a free programme as part of their entry to the festival. For more information on joining CAMRA to take advantage of these offers please visit www.camra.org.uk/joinus .

For more up to date information on the Great British Beer Festival please visit - www.gbbf.org.uk

2007-05-17
ALE BUT NOT HEARTY.
Archers Brewery has been placed into administration!

Archers based in the Great Western Railway locomotive works in Swindon, has brewed award-winning ales for the independent pub sector, has been placed into administration!

It had its own transport fleet, and served the whole of the UK through its distribution outlets. Surprisingly, for such an ambitious company, it only employed 20 people.

However, the company has run into difficulties due to cash flow problems. This might be due to it currently brewing over 190 different ales making them a producer of one of the largest range of cask ales worldwide.

We are continuing to trade the business and are seeking to achieve a going concern sale within a short period of time. The support of the employees, suppliers and customers is key throughout this difficult period. We would also invite any parties interested in acquiring the business to contact us as soon as possible. Said David Bennett, director and joint administrator at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Prospective buyers should contact Amerjit Singh at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP on 020 7583 5000.

2007-05-08
UP NORTH.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is proud to announce the release of Scotland's True Heritage Pubs - a guide to pub interiors of Special Historic Interest.

Scotland's True Heritage Pubs is CAMRA's pioneering initiative to bring greater appreciation of the most valuable historic pub interiors in Scotland for locals and tourists alike. The aim of the guide is to encourage appreciation of the rich variety of architecture that still exists in genuine Scottish pubs.

The guide was launched at Leslie's Bar, 45 Ratcliffe Terrace, Edinburgh, at which representatives of CAMRA including members of the Pub Heritage Group will be in attendance.

Scotland's True Heritage Pubs Author, Michael Slaughter, said: This guide is the culmination of over 10 years of surveying by CAMRA members to identify the last remaining pubs that are still much as they were before the mid 1960's when a trend for pub refitting and opening out began. It leads you to 115 pubs that retain their historic interiors with informative descriptions and 140 photographs which aim to make clear the significance of each one.

The guide is a celebration of the uniqueness of Scottish pubs compared to other parts of the UK. The guide includes a comprehensive introduction covering such subjects as:

Island serving counters: Central bars in the pubs main room, Scotland's distinct style of pub for over a 100 years

Ornate gantries: The gantry takes its name from the old Scot's word gantress/gauntress meaning a wooden stand for casks

The Tenement Pub: Many thousands of pubs in Scotland occupy the ground floors of tenement block of flats alongside shops. A feature rarely seen in other parts of the UK

Ladies Sitting Rooms: A separate room for women to drink before the Sex Discrimination Act.

Bell-pushes for table service and water taps on the bar for whisky.

The guide also features details of public transport for each pub, and information about those that serve food.

Scotland's True Heritage Pubs is available in all good bookshops priced 6.99, or direct from CAMRA at 4.99 (excluding p&p).

2007-04-27
PINTS BY NUMBERS.
Mathematicians have come up with a formula that predicts how the head on a pint of beer will change after pouring. Their advance could shed light on why the foam on a pint of lager quickly disappears, but the froth on a pint of Guinness sticks around. The research could not only provide tips for better brewing, but could also have applications in metallurgy, say the authors. Details of the work by mathematicians in the US appear in the journal Nature.

Beer foam is a cellular structure comprising networks of gas-filled bubbles separated by liquid. The walls of these bubbles move as a result of surface tension. The speed at which the walls move is proportional to the curvature of the bubbles. As a result of this movement, the bubbles merge and the structure "coarsens", meaning that the foam settles and eventually disappears.

The research extends work by computer pioneer John von Neumann, who in 1952 devised an equation in two dimensions. Until now, nobody had been able to prove that von Neumann's result worked at higher dimensions.

Writing in Nature, Robert MacPherson, from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and David Srolovitz, from Yeshiva University in New York, describe an equation that works in three dimensions, as well as four, five and six dimensions. "What happens in beer, is the small bubbles shrink, the big bubbles grow," said Professor Srolovitz. "Eventually, the big bubbles pop - although they pop for slightly different reasons. On Earth, there's gravity and the liquid that's within the walls tends to drain out back into the beer. The walls get thinner and thinner and eventually they pop."

Asked why some beers such as Guinness have a creamy head that persists longer than those of many lagers, Professor Srolovitz explained: "What this theory does is tells you how every single bubble in the froth will evolve. There are some materials properties that go into the final equation. So for beer, it will be the diffusivity of the gas in that little liquid layer that's in the wall of the bubble. Another is the surface tension. I don't know the tricks that Guinness uses, they could be adding a little surfactant to get the head just right - that is just pure speculation on my part."

But the equation can be applied to other materials, in particular, metals and ceramics. Most engineered materials, including metals and ceramics are polycrystalline - that is, they are composed of many small crystalline grains which are separated by boundaries. If, for example, a piece of metal is heated in a furnace, the average size of the metal grains grows. The small grains will disappear, while the big ones will grow, due to changes in the boundaries between individual grains. Exactly the same mathematics can be used to describe this process as describes the evolution of froth on a pint of beer.

The work could help brewers to keep their heads. However, whether this will also extend to them insisting on over-sized glasses is another matter.

2007-04-23
ONE IN 60,000.
Unique Pubs that refuse to be "Clones" honoured by CAMRA - 22/03/07

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has today announced the winners of its annual Pub Design Awards, which celebrate the very best in vision, imagination and restraint in Britain's pubs.

The winners are to be given their awards at a ceremony in Halifax at The Three Pigeons - winner of the CAMRA/English Heritage Conservation award and joint winner of the Joe Goodwin Award, at 1pm on Thursday March 22nd.

Pub Design Award judge Steven Parissien - Head of Heritage at leading independent planning and urban design consultancy Turley Associates - said: Pubs change hands with bewildering frequency, with each successive owner determined to impose a corporate identity or theme' on the hapless fabric.

Amid this sea of change, with pubs being passed from owner to owner like Monopoly houses, the Pub Design Awards remains a beacon of impartial common sense. The awards' aim is to promote the best in pub design, and to identify how we've been able to create and perpetuate one of the nation's best-loved, most strikingly individual and most intrinsically British building types.

The Winners

Refurbishment Award - The Prince of Wales, Herne Bay, Kent

The judges said: A no-nonsense late Victorian town pub. Here the new conservation work has been blended excellently with the features and finishes which survive from the 1890s. In this basic local boozer - no gastropub pretensions or ash-topped tables here - the attention to detail and atmosphere is faultless.

Winner of the CAMRA/English Heritage Conservation Award - The Three Pigeons, Halifax, West Yorkshire.
On The Three Pigeons Halifax, the judges said: Opened in 1932, the original architects Jackson and Fox opted for an eclectic mix of neo-Georgian and then highly-fashionable Art Deco. Sold as a free house in the 1980s, the pub was resold to the Izakaya Pub Company, trading as Ossett Brewery, in 2005.

The careful refurbishment recently carried out is exemplary The original multi-room plan has been retained - as has the engaging painted ceiling in the central hall - and the splendid tiled fireplace insets and oak-veneered bar counter, all dating from the 1930s, have been given a new lease of life. The whole effect is distinctly warm and welcoming, conjuring up exactly what visitors to Britain would imagine a pub to be. Perhaps most impressively, all of the new work has been executed on a shoestring budget, demonstrating that enthusiasm and sensitivity are often far better for old buildings than bulging corporate wallets and planning strategies.

Winner of the Conversion to Pub Use Award - The Works, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire
Of The Works Sowerby Bridge, the judges said: Originally an engineering workshop dating back to the end of the nineteenth century, this basic interior has been treated simply but effectively by local architects Hawden Russell. There is no artifice here, nor any fake history, but merely a very individual, multi-functioning building. The whole interior has been brought together visually by the well-chosen historic fittings bought by the owner on ebay. Altogether a good example of what can be done to bring a problem building, which seemed to have no obvious future, back to a highly successful commercial life.

Joe Goodwin Award for the best street-corner local to be shared between Three Pigeons and Prince of Wales.

The judges said: This award in memory of the former CAMRA chair, goes jointly to The Prince of Wales in Herne Bay and the Three Pigeons in Halifax. These two old pubs, which together epitomise the best in traditional pubs, show how updating an old interior need not mean eradicating its unique charm or ignoring local customers favour of imposing a short-lived corporate identity derived from national focus groups. This proves a small budget, wisely and thoughtfully applied, can do wonders.

Disappointingly, the judges felt there were no worthy entries for the New Build award in this year's nominations.

Steven Parissien continued: During the lifetime of the Pub Design Awards, only one in every four yearly awards has seen a prize being given in the New Build category. And this year is not one of them - a sad comment on the vision and ambition of today's pub owners.

CAMRA is now accepting nominations for next year's awards, and we hope that we will be inundated with designs that show vision and imagination in the evolution of British pubs.

2007-04-22
GLASS HALF EMPTY....
A new survey by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has today revealed that one in four pints in the UK are served less than 95% full and this is costing beer drinkers a staggering 481 million every year! CAMRA has today launched a nationwide petition calling for the Government to end short measures as they promised a decade ago.

For the first time in its 35 year history, CAMRA has taken out advertisements in national media* in order to let consumers know how to make a stand against this unfair practice.

The CAMRA survey of local authorities' trading standards departments has revealed:

# A shocking 26.6% of all pints served are over 5% short measure
# The worst example found was 13% short of a full pint
# 76% of pubs goers want the Government to stick to its promise to ensure drinkers get a full pint

Beer drinkers lose 1.3 million every day by paying for a full pint but receiving less than 100% liquid in the glass.

Labour had made an election promise to legislate against short measures in 1997. This promise has not been fulfilled and has cost the consumer 4.5 billion over the last decade.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: It is a disgrace that up to a quarter of all pints served in the UK are less than 95% liquid when the consumer is paying for a full pint every time. Labour had promised to introduce legislation to end this unfair practice ten years ago and the continuing cost to beer drinkers from the Government's inaction has now run into billions of pounds.

CAMRA has set up a petition for consumers calling for the government to introduce legislation that a pint will not be less than 100% liquid. As well as being online at www.takeittothetop.co.uk , copies of the petition will be at CAMRA beer festivals across the UK. Petition postcards will be sent out to CAMRA's 85,000 strong membership nationwide to sign.

Mike Benner added: This is not just a problem that affects real ale drinkers. Lager drinkers and cider drinkers are being short changed too.

It is time the Government met its promise and made sure pub goers get the full pint that they pay for every time. I would urge all beer drinkers that are fed up with being ripped off at the bar to sign CAMRA's Take it to the top' petition and help us make a difference.

2007-04-21
FOUL BREW
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) slammed the Chancellor's decision to yet again increase excise duty on beer as a mistake that will hit Britain's pubs hard.

The 84,000 member strong consumer organisation had called on the Government to freeze excise duty as the decision to increase tax is likely to result in higher prices, less customers in pubs, and a drop in revenue for the treasury.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: This is a false economy for the Government as we may now see an exodus from pubs after beer prices rise.

This is bad news for the millions of people who enjoy British pubs but will now face a higher cost to visit them. Therefore trips to the pub will become less frequent and the revenue the Government makes from VAT will suffer.

At a time when 56 pubs a month are closing, the smoking ban is imminent and supermarkets are selling beer at ridiculously low prices, British pubs needed a lifeline from their government and that has been denied them.

2007-04-20
SLEEPING IT OFF.
New CAMRA Guide Awards Stars to Top British B&B Pubs - 26/03/07

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has announced the top B&B pubs in the country that serve real ale in a new guide Beer, Bed and Breakfast.

Beer, Bed & Breakfast (Jill Adam, Susan Nowak) is a guide to some of the UKs best pubs that offer rooms for the night, and with concern growing over the environmental impact of jet-setting European breaks, there has never been a better time to explore what Britain has to offer.

Beer, Bed & Breakfast is a comprehensive guide to more than 500 pubs throughout the UK that serve fine real ale and offer good quality bed and breakfast accommodation. All entries include contact details, type and extent of accommodation, list of beers served, meal types and times, and an easy-to-understand price guide to help you plan your budget.

The guide also gives a star rating for the top ten pubs with the best beer, best pubs, best breakfasts and exceptional accommodation.

Beer Bed & Breakfast joint editor Jill Adam said: Why go jetting off to Prague, Budapest, Milan or Vienna for a trendy city break, adding to the destruction of the planet, when you can let the train take the strain and explore our own historic centres, with the added bonus of a British pint?

"By shopping around for rail fares as you would for airline tickets, you can often find a good deal. Even going by road to discover a rural idyll or Beer-on-Sea is still greener than flying abroad, especially if you fill your car with friends or family. And should you want to tour pubs at the far end of the UK and you will once youve taken a look at this guide consider traveling by train then hiring a car to stay at out-of-the-way pubs."

Star rated pubs for beer:

* Old Poets Corner, Ashover, Derbyshire
* Halfway House, Brenchley, Kent
* Berkeley Arms, Southport, Merseyside
* The Anchor, Walberswick, Suffolk,
* Old Fourpenny Shop, Warwick, Warwickshire
* Check Inn, North Wroughton, Wiltshire
* The Talbot, Knightwick, Worcestershire
* Cover Bridge Inn, East Witton, North Yorkshire
* Anderson, Fortrose, Highlands (also star rated for food)
* Fishermans Tavern: Broughty Ferry, Tayside

Star rated pubs for accommodation:

* Driftwood Spars, St Agnes, Cornwall
* Mill Wheel, Hartsbourne, Derbyshire
* Victoria, Durham
* Sun Inn, Deadham, Essex
* White Horse, Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk
* Duke of Wellington, Danby, North Yorkshire
* Strines, Bradfield, North Yorkshire
* Old Hall Inn, Haworth, West Yorkshire
* Soughton Hall, Northop, NE Wales
* Kinmel Arms, St George, NE Wales

Star rated pubs for food

* Ivy House, Chalfont, Bucks
* Trengilly, Wartha, Nancenoy, Cornwall
* Queens Head, Trout Beck, Cumbria
* Bay Horse, Ulverston, Cumbria
* Red Pump, Bashall Eaves, Lancs
* Tollgate Inn, Holt, Wiltshire
* Bants, Upton Snodbury, Worcs
* Clytha Arms, Clytha, Gwent
* Burts, Melrose, Borders
* Anderson, Fortrose, Highlands

Beer Bed & Breakfast is available to buy from all good book shops, or direct from CAMRA call: 01727 867201 or visit www.camra.org.uk/books

2007-04-11
CIDER, INSIDER.
With sunshine over blossoming orchards and the psychedelic strains of 1960s hit Time of the Season, the new TV advert for Magners Irish Cider marks the start of its crucial spring and summer campaign. Seemingly single-handedly, the brand led cider back into the mainstream consciousness of British drinkers last year. It even got royal approval, with Prince William among those spotted drinking it.

The question now being asked is whether the UK cider market can continue its success in 2007 and beyond. The industry is adamant it can - with predictions of record sales equivalent to more than one billion pints this year. There are even rumours, so far down played, that the demand for apples prompted by the rediscovery of cider is leading to a shortage of the fruit.

Sales of cider in the UK grew 23% in 2006 to 965 million pints - taking into account cider sold in all forms in shops, bars and pubs. And the pub chain Wetherspoons recently revealed that it sells more of the Swedish brand of pear cider, Kopparberg, than any other company in the world - including in Sweden. The success has been dubbed the "Magners Effect" - a reference to the brand's Irish owner, C&C group, promoting its drink as being served poured from a pint-bottle, over ice into a glass, albeit backed up by a 25m advertising campaign. It was a much-needed tonic for cider after a spell in the doldrums left it maligned as the cheap-but-boozy choice for vagrants and 13-year-old hoodlums at bus stops.

But now, according to Simon Russell of the National Association of Cider Makers "there has been a step change in consumer attitudes. Cider is no longer something that you just buy in a two litre plastic bottle," he said.

The market had been picking up for a couple of years before the 2006 boom from the maturing alcopop generation. They have grown up with sweeter drinks and are a key new audience for cider makers.

Sales of Magners grew 225% in 2006, the first time it had been sold in England outside of London, having been in Scotland since 2003 and with an established heritage in Ireland. Rival Scottish & Newcastle (S&N), which saw its own "over ice" cider sales up 15.3% last year, has launched its summer campaign for Strongbow- still the UK's biggest selling cider. This forms part of its 45m cider advertising spree, which will also give heavy promotion to its Bulmers Original brand, Magners' main competitor in the UK "premium" market - as well as Scrumpy Jack, Woodpecker and the fruit cider Jacques.

Herfordshire-based Bulmers said it was confident of continued demand - and that it would plant about 350,000 apple trees in 2007 to 2009, compared with 120,000 in the previous three years. "Last year was a very significant year, exceptional, and because of what the producers are doing, and how the consumers are responding, we think it's sustainable," said Mr Russell of the National Cider Makers Association.

He said that away from the mass market drinks, producers were offering more options, especially top-end products, which supermarkets, pubs and bars were increasingly stocking. "At the very top of the market, the likes of Thatchers and Aspell's are making ciders packaged to state exactly where the drink has been produced and the types of apples involved," he said.

2007-04-10
THE FIRST RULE ABOUT BEER CLUB...
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is delighted to announce the launch of the CAMRA Beer Club - a new scheme that will deliver a case of 20-top quality bottled real ales direct to your door for just 39.95 a quarter plus postage and packing.

This new initiative is a major step forward in CAMRA's promotion of real ale in a bottle and in offering greater benefits to CAMRA members.

Members of the CAMRA Beer Club will discover and enjoy a whole range of specialist beers that are currently not widely available in supermarkets or pubs. Every British beer is bottle-conditioned and some collections will feature authentic World Explorer' beers. It's a great way for consumers to expand their knowledge of beer!

Every three months the CAMRA Beer Club will put together a collection of five different beers (four bottles of each). CAMRA beer club members will also receive tasting notes written by the club's resident guest experts.

All those chosen will be high-quality examples of their type, will have distinctive character, and will come from brewers who are committed to diversity and quality.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: CAMRA would always prefer that people enjoy a cask ale at the pub. However we also accept there any many occasions when people do drink at home. In these instances we would prefer that people drink real ale in a bottle rather than canned beer products.

CAMRA's policy is also to promote real ale in a bottle (British bottle-conditioned products). We believe that this it is the next best thing to cask ale that consumers can enjoy at the pub. The club aims to make available beers that might have not previously or easily been available to CAMRA Beer Club members in bottle form.

By increasing people's knowledge, and by widening their awareness of different beer styles, we hope that they may also have the confidence to try different styles of cask ales at the pub.

Many of the beers selected will be previous CAMRA award-winners or champion beers.

Each case is hand-picked by a panel of experts from both CAMRA and our partners the Beer Club of Britain. CAMRA ensure beers are of the highest quality, by having brewing experts on hand to advise.

Every beer is selected for its consistency, quality and diversity. In future cases there will be opportunities for Beer Club members to make their own personal recommendations to the Club.

Non CAMRA members can join the CAMRA Beer Club for 44.95 (plus p&p)

For more information on how the beer club works, to place an order, or view the current case, visit www.camrabeerclub.co.uk.

2007-04-03
COLD TO THE BONE.
Greene King is to launch Greene King IPA Chilled. The new brand is an authentic keg beer designed to be served at 4C from a condensating font. Target drinkers are those who prefer a cold nitro keg ale.

Greene King IPA Chilled has an ABV of 3.6%.

Consumer trends show that drinkers are opting for cooler drinks, particularly in the warmer summer months
Justin Adams, managing director of Greene King Brewing Company.

Justin Adams, managing director of Greene King Brewing Company said: "Consumer trends show that drinkers are opting for cooler drinks, particularly in the warmer summer months. Whilst we remain absolutely committed to brewing quality cask beer, which represents a very high proportion of our business and is true to our heritage, we also want to be innovative in providing a range of beers suit to what consumers want."

We ran a substantial pilot for Greene King IPA Chilled and the findings demonstrate there are distinct audiences for cask and keg beer. The results have been fantastic, showing that Greene King IPA Chilled, with its standout font and great taste delivery, will attract drinkers from within the keg category, as well as some younger consumers who have not previously considered ale.

"Greene King IPA Chilled will be served from a striking condensation font with etched Greene King branding, giving it, as Justin Adams says, prominent visibility on the bar and maximum appeal to drinkers.

2007-03-30
BREATHABLE AIR.
A new survey by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has revealed the public's attitudes to the forthcoming smoking ban in England and Wales later in 2007.

The sample survey's key findings indicated that:

6.2 million people (17% of all adults in England and Wales) who visit pubs regularly are likely to visit pubs more often. Of that group 97% were non-smokers.

840,000 people who currently never go to a pub said they will after the smoking ban. Added to the figure for people who currently visit regularly that is a total of 7,040,000 people who will visit pubs more often.

93% of real ale drinkers said they would be more likely to visit pubs more often or that their visiting habits would not be changed by the ban. See table 1.

68% of regular smokers say it will not change their pub visiting habits at all.

69% of all adults said it would not affect their visits to pubs at all, only 3% said they would not visit pubs at all as a result of the ban.

Smokers are typically lager drinkers (43% of lager drinkers said they smoke). See table 2

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: This survey shows that non-smokers will be attracted to pubs after the ban comes into force, and many of them would like to find a real ale waiting for them when they get there.

The smoking ban will be a difficult transition for licensees, but it is encouraging that only 3% of people surveyed by CAMRA said they would not visit pubs at all as a result of the ban. The key will be to ensure that other factors such as quality of real ale, food, atmosphere and welcome are all superb. If this is the case then the traditional Community Pub will have a bright and healthy future.

The survey was carried out by CAMRA to mark Community Pubs Week which began on Saturday February 17th and will run until Saturday February 24th. Community Pubs Week supersedes National Pubs Week, which ran successfully for four years until 2006. However due to evidence that community pubs are under particularly severe threat CAMRA has refocused its efforts to protect them specifically.

For more information about Community Pubs Week or to find out some of the planned activities pubs will be taking part in, log on to www.pubsweek.org

The ban on smoking in pubs will come into force in Wales on April 2nd, and in England on July 1st.

The Pub Omnibus Survey was conducted by TNS on behalf of CAMRA from a sample of more than 1500 adults in England and Wales.

TABLE 1: Percentage of people who said they would be more likely to visit a pub or that their number of pub visits would not be affected by the ban

Real ale drinkers: 93%
Keg bitter drinkers: 90%
Wine drinkers: 89%
Soft Drink drinkers:88%
Spirit drinkers: 86%
Lager drinkers: 84%
Alcopop drinkers: 81%

TABLE 2: Percentage of people who smoke

Lager drinkers: 43%
Alcopop drinkers: 42%
Spirit drinkers: 37%
Keg bitter drinkers: 35%
Real ale drinkers: 25%
Soft drink drinkers: 24%
Wine drinkers: 20%

2007-03-19
CLUB OF THE YEAR.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is accepting nominations from across Great Britain to find the Club of the Year 2008.

The club itself or club members are free to submit an entry for the competition. The only criteria are that club membership must be open to all and the real ale must be of the highest quality.

CAMRA Club of the Year Co-ordinator and National Executive member John Holland said: CAMRA estimates that there are around 30,000 licensed and registered clubs that could set their sights on this prestigious award.

Over the past few months CAMRA judges have been busy visiting candidates for the Club of the Year 2007 title which will be announced in May this year, and the competition judges are eager to receive nominations for the 2008 competition already.

In 2006 the title was won by Dartford Working Men's Club (WMC) in Dartford, Kent.

John Holland said This is an excellent club with a great range of well kept real ales at very reasonable prices for South East England. Much of this is down to the personal commitment to quality real ale of the Steward and his members.

It was also the first time that the award was won by a member of the Working Mens' Club and Institute Union (CIU).

Deadline for self-nomination is 31.03.2007 and the winner will be announced in May 2008.

Nominations should be sent to Ian Charlton, 11, Oxford Road, St. Johns, Wakefield, West Yorkshire. WF1 3LB, Tel (01924) 385 094 (home) 07776 383 477 (mobile) email ian.charlton@blueyonder.co.uk

Terms and conditions.

Only one club can be entered from each of CAMRA's 200 branches. In the event of there being more than one club in a branch area to be considered then the local branch will decide which will be put forward for the competition.

Unlike CAMRA's pub of the year competition where the entries are judged as a whole, Club of the year is judged purely on commitment to quality real ale.

Clubs that discriminate on the basis of dress, shape, size, gender, sexuality, colour, ethnic origin, or religion will not be considered.

For more information:

CAMRA Press Office - 01727 798443

2007-02-21
EAT ME.
CAMRA and Food from Britain recommend the finest winter ales to match the best British dishes - 19/01/07

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and Food from Britain have brought together the winners of this years Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition with the finest homegrown foods for a truly sumptuous winter feast.

Following a blind tasting by judges at the National Winter Ales Festival in Manchester, the awards were made by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) on January 18th. The 2007 Champion Winter Beer of Britain Competition is sponsored by Food from Britain, and to demonstrate the link between food and beer, CAMRA and Food from Britain have put together a list of these award-winning beers and British cuisine.

Louise Ashworth, CAMRA Head of Marketing, said: There are some wonderful foods from across Britain that are at their best during the colder months, and these award winning beers match them superbly. It makes perfect sense to combine beer and food to make a winter dining experience that would warm anyones appetite.

Each of the award winning beers can be found subject to availability at the National Winter Ales Festival taking place at New Century Hall in Manchester until January 20th.

Kirsty Grieve, Regional Food and Drink Manager at FFB, commented: Food from Britain is proud to be supporting CAMRAs Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition and we are delighted it will be making a real difference for British beer and ale producers. On our regional sourcing website - www.regionalfoodanddrink.co.uk - we now have over 110 ales registered. Our sponsorship of this competition is part of a wider Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) funded initiative to promote the quality and diversity of the UKs regional food and drink."

BEER AND FOOD MATCHES with suggested ingredient suppliers.

Starter:

Chicken liver pate. (with mild) - Chicken livers from Morrow Quality Foods, morrowfood@aol.com, Telephone: 02891 822855
Match with: B&T: Black Dragon Mild (Bedfordshire). Gold medal winner in the Old Ales & Strong Milds category.

Moules Mariniere (with stout) - Mussels from Dundrum Bay Oyster Fishery, Telephone: 028437 51810
Match with: Cairngorm: Black Gold (Aviemore, Highlands). Silver medal winner in the Stouts & Porters category.

Main:

Game pie (with stout or barley wine) - Yorkshire Game Ltd, www.yorkshiregame.co.uk, Telephone: 01748 810212
Match with: Green Jack: Ripper (Lowestoft, Suffolk). Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain.

Roast leg of pork with crackling (with porter) - Redhill Farm Free Range Pork, www.redhillfarm.com, Telephone: 01427 628270
Match with: Fullers: London Porter (London). Gold medal winner of the Stouts & Porters category and silver award in Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition.

Jugged Hare (with barley wine) - Yorkshire Game Ltd, www.yorkshiregame.co.uk, Telephone: 01748 810212
Match with: Orkney:, Skullsplitter (Orkney). Gold medal winner in the barley wines category and Bronze medal winner in the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition.

Pudding:

Chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce (with porter) - Chocolate from Cascade Food's, www.cascadefoods.com, Telephone: 07963 490492
Match with: St Peters: Old Style Porter (Suffolk). Bronze medal winner in the Stouts & Porter category.

Raspberries trifle (with porter) - Cammas Hall Fruit Farm, Telephone: 01279 718570 (When raspberries are in season)
Match with: Fullers: London Porter (London). Gold medal winner of the Stouts & Porters category and silver award in Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition.

Sticky toffee pudding (with barley wine or stout) - Farmhouse Fare, www.farmhouse.co.uk, Telephone: 01200 453110
Match with: Durham: Benedictus (Co Durham). Bronze medal winner in the Barley Wines category

Cheese course:

Blue cheese (with strong mild or old ale) - Cornish Cheese Company Ltd, www.cornishcheese.co.uk, Telephone: 01579 363660
Match with: Rudgate: Ruby Mild (North Yorkshire). Bronze medal winner in the Old Ales & Strong Mild Category

2007-02-12
RIPPER!
Green Jack Brewery's Ripper was today named as the supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2007 by a panel of judges at CAMRA's National Winter Ales Festival in Manchester.

The 8.5% abv barley wine was described as A light coloured beer brewed as a homage to Belgian trappist ales, with sweet notes and a strong hoppy flavour.

At the announcement, Steve Prescott, Organiser of the National Winter Ales Festival congratulated Green Jack on its victory. He said, "It's great to see a barley wine win the competition yet again. I sincerely hope people will be inspired to try this fantastic beer style on the back of Green Jack's victory.

On hearing the news, Green Jack Head Brewer Tim Dunford said: This is absolutely incredible. All my life it has been my ambition to win a national award for my beers and I can't believe it has happened.

The Silver award went to Fuller's London Porter and the Bronze to Orkney Skullsplitter.

A panel of CAMRA experts and beer writers at the National Winter Ales Festival (New Century Hall, Manchester) judged the competition. Drinkers at the festival, which opened yesterday and will run until January 20th, can sample the winners as well as try over 200 old ales, milds, stouts, porters, barley wines and bitters.

Descriptions taken from CAMRA's 'Dictionary of Beer':

Stout - One of the classic types of ale, a successor in fashion to 'porter'. Usually a very dark, heavy, well-hopped bitter ale, with a dry palate, thick creamy head, and a good grainy taste.

Porter - A dark, slightly sweetish but hoppy ale made with roasted barley; the successor of 'entire' and predecessor of stout. Porter originated in London around 1730, and by the end of the 18th century was probably the most popular beer in England.

Old Ale - Now virtually synonymous with 'winter ale'. Most 'old ales' are produced and sold for a limited time of the year, usually between November and the end of February. Usually a rich, dark, high-gravity draught ale of considerable body.

Barley Wine - a strong, rich and sweetish ale, usually over 1060 OG, dark in colour, with high condition and a high hop rate.

National Winter Ales Festival 2007: Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2007

SUPREME CHAMPION

Gold - Green Jack, Ripper (Lowestoft, Suffolk, contact Tim Dunford 07913 053540)
Silver - Fuller's London Porter (Chiswick, London, Tel 020 89962000)
Bronze - Orkney, Skullsplitter (Stromness, Orkney, Tel 01856 841802)

CATEGORY WINNERS

Old Ales & Strong Mild Category

Gold - B&T: Black Dragon Mild (Bedfordshire)
Silver - Orkney: Dark Island (Orkney)
Bronze - Rudgate: Ruby Mild (North Yorkshire)

Stouts & Porters

Gold - Fuller's: London Porter (London)
Silver - Cairngorm: Black Gold (Aviemore, Highlands)
Bronze - St Peter's: Old Style Porter (Suffolk)

Barley Wines

Gold - Orkney, Skullsplitter (Orkney)
Silver - Green Jack, Ripper (Lowestoft, Suffolk)
Bronze - Durham: Benedictus (Co Durham)

2007-01-31
THE ONE-EYED MONSTER.
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, today unveiled a new phase of the Cyclops campaign for licensees and their customers, which aims to demystify the complexities of real ale, during the National Winter Ales Festival in Manchester.

Initially launched by Everards Brewery in March 2006, Cyclops was embraced by CAMRA and launched industry-wide with 14 brewery partners last August, after CAMRA commissioned research revealed that 1 in 3 adults thought a universal scheme which simplified real ale would encourage them to try more real ale.

We were delighted with the initial 14 breweries that signed up as Cyclops partners in August 2006 as they own pubs and distribute beer across the whole of Britain. This now means Cyclops is a universal real ale tasting scheme that can be developed to play its part in increasing real ale sales nationally. said Tony Jerome, CAMRA's Senior Marketing Manager.

Jerome explains how Cyclops works, Cyclops uses easy to understand descriptions and distinctive eye, nose and mouth symbols to help inform and educate occasional or new real ale drinkers of what different beers look, smell and taste like before they even try or buy a beer. Cyclops also promotes the style and strength of the beer and gives each real ale a score out of five for how bitter and sweet the beer is.

Since the initial launch at the Great British Beer Festival last August, Cyclops continues to build on its success with interest from a further 25 breweries who are looking to participate within the next few months.

To help consumers understand how the actual scheme works, and where to look for material, CAMRA has produced a Cyclops information leaflet which it hopes will increase real ale sales for all the breweries participating in Cyclops. The leaflet will be distributed to thousands of pubs across Britain by CAMRA members.

David Bremner, Head of Marketing for Everards and the inspiration behind Cyclops, said: For Cyclops to continue having an impact on the real ale market, more Cyclops partners need to produce eye catching Point of Sale material and distribute to the pubs across Britain.

Bremner continued, CAMRA's new Cyclops leaflet, and more breweries supporting the scheme, will help to increase the consumer awareness of this initiative and lead to more people understanding and drinking real ale.

While a number of the breweries have already produced Cyclops tasting material, others are still finalising their plans while existing stocks of promotional material are used up. CAMRA and Everards felt it was important to continue the promotion of the scheme.

Tony Jerome explained It is important that we now promote Cyclops to licensees and consumers as there is a lot of support from the real ale industry for this initiative and it is vital to keep the impetus of this campaign going. As some of the Cyclops partners Point of Sale material hasn't been completed yet, we thought it would be important to develop some Cyclops templates that will allow licensees to produce their own Cyclops Point of Sale material such as posters, leaflets and table-toppers to help promote the real ales they have on sale in Cyclops format.

Licensees can now visit the Cyclops website www.camra.org.uk/cyclops, select the real ale tasting notes and logos for the beers that they have on sale in their pubs and drop them into the template. These can then be printed off and displayed as posters around the pub or used as beer menus on the tables. There is even space on the templates to add beer prices, pub food that matches the beer or history on the brewery.

Jerome continued, There has been a large number of pubs that have contacted CAMRA in the last year telling us that they would like to promote their real ales but do not know how to. These Word templates that have been created will be accessible to most licensees that own a PC. The templates will allow licensees to create their own Cyclops material and promote their own range of real ales to their customers. Hopefully this will encourage pubs to become more marketing led and help see their real ale sales increase.

Licensees will also be able to order Cyclops Point of Sale material such as posters, beer mats, tasting cards, leaflets etc direct from breweries that have already produced their material by visiting www.camra.org.uk/cyclops

Jerome concluded, Within the next few months we hope to have a directory of hundreds of Cyclops tasting notes on the website for licensees to use and promote to their customers. We also hope that more breweries will be added to the on-line order form so licensees can order professionally designed Cyclops marketing material direct from the Cyclops brewery partners.

Breweries that would like to sign up to Cyclops, can either visit www.camra.org.uk/cyclops or email tony.jerome@camra.org.uk to request a Cyclops promotional pack.

For more information:
Tony Jerome, CAMRA's Senior Marketing Manager - 07736948186
David Bremner, Everards Head of Marketing - 07802283906

2007-01-18
CHEAP AS WATER.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is calling for a stop to irresponsible alcohol promotion as supermarkets sell lager for just 5p more than a pint of bottled water.

A survey by CAMRA revealed that in some supermarkets Fosters and Carling was available for the equivalent of just 54p a pint - or 16p before tax. CAMRA, members of parliament, trade press and pub industry chiefs are calling for urgent action to prevent promotions that serve to exacerbate the problem of binge drinking.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: The ridiculous practice of the major supermarkets selling below cost for alcohol to out-price each other is reckless, irresponsible and dangerous. To put it in perspective some bottled water in the supermarket costs 49p a pint and water is not subject to excise duty as alcohol is.

CAMRA believes that irresponsible drinks promotions in the off trade are a major cause of binge-drinking incidents, yet it is licensed premises that suffer the fallout while supermarkets continue with impunity.

Mike Benner continued: Pubs often come under unjustified attack for encouraging binge-drinking, yet the industry has committed itself to curb irresponsible drinking and cheap alcohol promotions in recent years. This hard work is undermined by supermarkets selling enormous quantities of alcohol at prices that simply cannot be justified.

An 18-year-old is free to take advantage of these ludicrous beer prices, walk out the supermarket door and then drink in a completely unsupervised and unsafe environment. Beer can be given by them to under-age drinkers who do not know their limits but pour premium-strength lager down their throats all night. This is in stark contrast to adults enjoying a drink in a pub which is regulated by law as to who they can and cannot serve.

Something has to be done now to make supermarkets realise the damage these promotions can cause.

MP John Grogan of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group has tabled an Early Day Motion urging supermarkets and off-licenses to follow the example of pubs, act to end irresponsible drinks promotions, and not to use alcohol as a loss leader on their premises. CAMRA is urging consumers to lobby their MP to sign Early Day Motion 495 and make supermarkets take their social responsibilities more seriously. 41 MP's have signed the motion so far.

Mike Benner concluded: These promotions are unsustainable, but while they are allowed to continue unchecked they are doing irreparable damage to the licensed trade. A pub is still the best place to enjoy a sociable and sensible drink with friends.

2006-11-25
DRINK UP? WHY?
About 200,000 venues have applied for late licences
The shake-up of licensing laws a year ago has not encouraged most people to go to pubs more or start drinking later in the evening, a survey suggests.

Some 71% of 2,095 people polled by the British Beer and Pub Association said the England and Wales shake-up had not seen them alter the time they went out.

And 85% said the laws, which permitted 24-hour opening, did not encourage them to go out drinking more often.

But campaigners said more still needed to be done to address binge drinking.

According to the YouGov survey for the BBPA trade body, 21% of those polled felt under less pressure to drink quickly; 23% of pub-goers were more likely to stay at their local, and 14% of 18-24-year-olds were more likely to go out later.

"In contrast to the apocalyptic predictions of the doom and gloom merchants, the change in our licensing laws has not unleashed a free for all," said BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward.

"Just as the pub trade has responded responsibly to reform, so people are behaving reasonably and rationally as it beds down."

Under the new Licensing Act, premises selling food or alcohol after 11pm needed to apply for a new licence, even if they did not intend to change their opening hours.

Licensing Minister Shaun Woodward said there had not been an "explosion" in all-night venues and there were "encouraging signs" the new laws were working.

A survey of licensing authorities released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport suggests about 3,000 out of the 200,000 premises who applied for licences under the act can now serve alcohol 24 hours a day.

But many of these are said to stay open all night only on special occasions.

DRINKING HABITS
23% of pub-goers more likely to stay at their local
21% feel less pressured to drink up quickly
14% of 18-24-year-olds more likely to go out later
Sample size: 2,095
Source: YouGov/BBPA


Supermarkets make up 25% of the premises granted 24-hour licences; pubs, bars and clubs 20%, and convenience stores another 20%.

The remaining licences are held by other venues such as hotels.

The Conservatives said high legal costs were preventing local residents from taking action against trouble spots.

"The government promised that the changes would make life safer and quieter for local residents," said shadow culture secretary Hugo Swire.

"Yet many local residents are powerless to object to noisy or rowdy venues."

The Department of Health said there was no evidence that the introduction of the act had increased pressure on accident and emergency facilities.

The charity Action on Addiction, however, said the UK still had a "huge problem" with binge drinking.

Researcher Bob Patton said: "Some alcohol-related conditions that develop over long periods of time would not show up yet, so we cannot be sure of the long-term damage that the wider availability of alcohol may have caused."

The London Ambulance Service said the number of alcohol-related incidents requiring medical attention in the capital had grown by 3% over the last year.

Deputy director of operations Russell Smith said: "We have not seen the huge rise in alcohol-related incidents that some feared, but there doesn't appear to have been a move towards the hoped-for cafe culture either."

2006-11-24
TAKE ME OVER. PLEASE.
London Pride brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner cheered a 31% rise in profits today after the takeover of Gales boosted summer trading.

London Pride brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner cheered a 31% rise in profits today after the takeover of Gales boosted summer trading.

Fuller's said pre-tax profits for the six months to September 30 were up from 8.4m (12.4m) to 10.9m (16.1m) as sales lifted 35% to 91.1m (134.7m).

It followed the 82.7m (122.3m) December acquisition of George Gale which gave Fuller's exposure to the south west of England market during the hot summer months.

2006-11-23
COMMUNITY CHEST.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has announced plans for a national week of action in February 2007 to help preserve and promote pubs that serve as an irreplaceable asset to their local community yet are closing at a frightening rate.

CAMRA research in 2005 showed that 26 pubs a month are lost in Britain. However early indications from further research suggests that current figures may actually be much higher - and it is not theme pubs or chain bars that are under threat but pubs at the heart of the local community.

The first ever Community Pubs Week will take place from 17th February to 24th February in order to raise the profile and importance of pubs in the community and encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to support this valuable community amenity.

CAMRA defines a community pub as a pub which appeals to a wide cross-section of the local community rather than being predominantly targeted at particular social or age groups.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said: "All soaps on TV and radio have community pubs - The Bull, The Rovers Return, The Queen Vic, The Woolpack - but sadly many real communities in rural and urban areas are in danger of losing or have already lost their community pub.

"Community pubs, particularly those in more remote rural areas, are often the hub of the lives of the local people. None of us want to be in a situation where the only way we speak with our neighbours is through a car window or a stolen conversation at a supermarket many miles away. However an increasing number of these pubs are being permanently lost."

"The smoking ban in place or coming into force shortly in different parts of the UK means pubs face a difficult time in 2007. People need to realise that their local is a valuable asset that must be protected."

"We know people care about their communities as, in a terrific show of support, four million people recently signed a petition calling for the Government to do more to save rural post offices. The threat to the community pub is extremely dire and unless we do something to curb the trend CAMRA fears many communities will find their local pub torn from them."

Throughout Community Pubs Week CAMRA members across Britain will be asking local licensees to get involved with the campaign and put on events and promotions for people in their communities to enjoy. These will feature on CAMRA's website www.camra.org.uk/communitypubsweek

Promotional beer mats, posters and advice sheets from CAMRA will be available for pubs that wish to take part in the campaign from the beginning of December 2006. Pub companies and breweries that wish to take part are asked to place a single order for promotional material to distribute centrally. Promotional material will be available by contacting CAMRA on 01727 867201 or by emailing cressida.feiler@camra.org.uk

Further details of events during Community Pubs Week will be announced in early 2007.

2006-11-10
CUT DOWN BY HALF.
It's being marketed as the pint for new men - not lager louts - and has half the alcohol content of normal beer. Is this a good thing?

He takes care over his appearance and moisturises daily. He knows about art, literature and food, as well as football and beer. Isn't it about time metrosexual man had his own lager?

"Lite" lager is brewed with a lower alcohol content but all the taste of the full-strength stuff, according to the breweries. It's pitched at the less laddish new man who still wants a "proper pint" with his mates.

Until now the trend has been for stronger drinks and larger measures. In recent years standard lager has risen in strength from 3.5% to 4.5% alcohol content and wine from 10% to 13%. But breweries believe if the beauty industry can get men moisturising, they can get them into mid-strength lager.

If sales figures from other countries are anything to go by they're right. In "bloke-ish" Australia such lager now makes up 13% of the beer market.

Brands include Beck's Vier and Guinness Mid-Strength and on Monday Britain's biggest beer brand, Carling, is officially launching a 2% lager - C2.

"We've finally cracked the mixture of art and science to brew a mid-strength lager that tastes just as good as a regular pint," says Andy Cray, brand director for Carling.

But "alcohol-free" lager - remember Barbican? - has never taken off. So what chance does the mid-strength stuff have?

"With lower-strength beer you have got to give the drinker some alcohol so they feel the product is genuine," says brand forensic expert Jonathan Gabay.

"Alcohol-free beers never took off because it was never seen as authentic. If the alcohol content of C2 was too low it would just be paying lip service to the proper stuff, but 2% could be just enough to give the product credibility.

"Carling understand it needs to be marketed as a genuine product, that's why they call it a 'proper pint'."

According to the breweries, it's all about making our lives easier. They understand people are busy and therefore need to fit socialising in with other activities. Full-strength alcohol is not always appropriate, so they have come up with an alternative.

The right occasions for such mid-strength lager? According to the breweries it's perfect for a swift one-at-lunch pint, a cheeky on-the-way-home pint, a rewarding after-football-training pint or a responsible big-meeting-tomorrow pint.

But it doesn't take a genius to work out the benefits of launching such brands. Carling already sells 1.5 billion pints a year. If it can persuade drinkers to buy twice as much lager without getting twice as drunk, it will be laughing. Even better if they can get people to drink beer on occasions when they usually wouldn't have.

And not everyone is toasting this new dawn in drinking. Carling has been criticised for its marketing pitch, particularly C2's "More Time In the Pub" slogan. While Alcohol Concern welcomes the trend, promoting mid-strength beers as a way to spend more time in the pub is not positive.

"Simply drinking lower-strength products does not solve much," says a spokesman. "Especially if you are using it as a reason to stay in the pub longer. You could end up drinking just the same amount."

Death rates due to chronic liver disease have gone up eightfold since the 1970s and there are 13,000 violent incidents outside pubs and clubs every week, according to the charity. If low-alcohol beers encourages people to drink on occasions when they wouldn't have usually, such problems could increase.

Carling says it takes alcohol responsibility seriously and carefully followed advertising regulations to ensure responsible marketing and promotion of C2.

And heavily-girthed drinkers who might be looking to the mid-strength trend for a healthier option could be disappointed, says one expert.

"Just because something has the word low or lite on the label does not necessarily mean it is better for you," says a spokeswoman for the British Nutrition Foundation.

"Take some low-fat products, there might be less fat but often there is more sugar and the calorific content is higher than the full-fat alternative."

But ultimately its success all comes down to the traditional lager drinker, so what do they think of the concept?

"To me it's like skimmed milk," says Tom Daley, 31. "It's just a pale imitation of the real stuff. What's the point?"

2006-11-07
TASTE ME!
Tryst Brewery in Larbert, Stirling, officially brews the two best bottled beers in Scotland after its Brockville Dark won gold and Carronade IPA won silver in the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Champion Bottled Beer of Scotland Competition 2006.

The competition was held at the 7th Ayrshire Real Ale Festival in Troon. Only Scottish real ale in a bottle - also known as bottle conditioned beers - that are available on a regular basis to the public could enter.

Tryst Brewery was started in 2003 by John McGarva, a member of Scottish Craft Brewers, in an industrial unit near Larbert Station. The brewery now supplies around 35 outlets and brews five regular beers, all of which have been available bottle-conditioned since Carronade IPA won the Champion Bottled Beer of Scotland Competition in 2005. (Source: Good Beer Guide 2007).

Commenting on the win, John McGarva said: "This is only really the first year that we have been concentrating on bottle-conditioned beers since we won the title in 2005 and to be awarded first and second place this year is a great achievement. In general Scottish drinkers have a preference for paler beers so to have won with Brockville Dark is a superb endorsement for the beer.

"I think that more people are starting to appreciate real ale in a bottle because they realise that it is just as good quality as you find in the cask, and events like the Champion Bottled Beer of Scotland Competition give brewers the chance to prove that."

The Champion Bottled Beer of Scotland 2006 awards went to:

Gold: Tryst Brockville Dark (3.8% abv)
Silver: Tryst Carronade IPA (4.2% abv)
Bronze: City of Stirling Sporran Warmer (5% abv)

Champion Bottled Beer of Scotland Competition Organiser, Mr Lindsay Grant, said: "There was a great contrast between the top three beers in the competition, ranging from Brockville Dark's, delicious chocolate aroma and roasted malt taste to Carronade IPA's well-balanced citreous notes and Sporran Warmer's hoppy and long lasting aftertaste."

2006-11-01
SLAM DUNK A KING!
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has today condemned the announcement by Greene King that Hardys & Hansons brewery in Nottinghamshire will be closed by the end of the year.

Despite thousands of Hardys & Hansons drinkers signing a petition to keep the 174 year old brewery in Kimberley, Greene King announced today that brewing will cease by Christmas and be moved to Bury St Edmunds. The Kimberley site will be retained, but as little more than a distribution centre for Greene King in the midlands and the north.

CAMRA members in Nottingham have reacted with anger at the news. Andrew Ludlow, of the Save Hardys & Hansons Brewery Group said, "Only weeks after acquiring this remarkable Victorian brewery, Greene King has ignored calls from beer drinkers across the UK to keep brewing in Kimberley. We have not given up and we will continue our campaign until Greene King reverses its decision."

CAMRA is calling on beer lovers and its 84,000 members to support its campaign to keep the brewery open by sending postcards which condemn the closure to Greene King, or by signing its petition at www.camra.org.uk.

Mike Benner, CAMRA's Chief Executive said, "We regard this as an unnecessary loss. Despite a history of brewery closures, Greene King has shown with its acquisition of Belhaven that it can integrate other breweries into a growing empire. We urge them to follow this approach with the Kimberley Brewery.

"Britain's brewing heritage is being slowly eroded by a seemingly endless string of closures through consolidation and drinkers across the UK need to join us in opposing this destruction."

"We'll be calling on Greene King to maintain the Hardys & Hansons real ales including the bitter. We don't want to see Hardys & Hansons beers being replaced by Greene King beers in the pubs of Nottingham because they are no longer available. Loss of consumer choice is almost always the end result of consolidation."

"Greene King is a major brewer and promoter of real ale, but it has to listen to real ale drinkers, reverse its decision, invest in the Hardys & Hansons brewery and promote genuine Hardys & Hansons beers for future generations."

2006-10-21
CIDER GRAIL.
To mark the beginning of October as National Cider Month the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) today announces the winner of its search to find the best pub serving real cider and perry in Britain.

The Old Poets' Corner in Ashover, Derbyshire has been given the coveted title of Cider Pub of the Year by CAMRA. It is only the second time the award has been given and the judges were delighted to award the honour to a pub outside of traditional cider making counties such as Somerset or Herefordshire.

The Cider and Perry Pub of the Year judging panel said: “We were very pleasantly surprised to find this little gem of a stone-built pub in the heart of the Derbyshire Peak District selling such a wonderful and interesting selection of traditional ciders and perries all in excellent condition.”

Licensee Kim Beresford said "We are totally thrilled to have been awarded this huge accolade after only two years at the Old Poets' Corner.

“It's thanks to the demand for cider and perry in north-east Derbyshire that we are able to maintain our broad range and provide our customers with what they so obviously want in such an unusually Northern outlet."

Kim and his wife Jackie took over the Old Poets' Corner in June 2004. A good range of real ale was quickly established, but they say real cider arrived almost by accident. Kim is heavily involved in running Chesterfield's Rail Ale Festival, and in 2004 there were some unsold part tubs of cider. A mix of these was sold at the Old Poets' Corner and was such a huge success that it showed the sales potential real cider has.

The Old Poets' Corner's cider sales have gone from strength to strength and an ever changing range of ciders and perries has built up from one tub in 2004 to six currently, including at least one perry. However to mark CAMRA's National Cider Month a cider week is being held, starting on 14th October. During which there will be an even greater range of ciders and perries than usual on sale.

CAMRA asked its 83,000 members and the public to nominate their favourite pubs in Britain that featured real cider and perry. The entries were then whittled down to four finalists. The joint runners-up were:

The Penrhyn Arms, Penrynside, Conwy : 01953 888593

The Banham Barrel, Banham, Norfolk: 01929 439229

The Square & Compass, Worth Matravers: 01492 547732 or 07780 678927

Gillian Williams, Director of CAMRA's Cider & Perry campaigning said: “The Old Poets' Corner is a tremendous example of a real cider success story. CAMRA is encouraging licensees to put a real cider behind their bar in October so that customers can try this delicious, fruity and natural drink for themselves.”

The Old Poet's Corner is supplied its cider by Merrylegs - a cider supplier based in the North of England. In recognition of Merrylegs' contribution to real cider and Perry CAMRA is honoured to award the company the 2006 Pomona Award. This year the award is shared jointly with fellow cider supplier, Jon Hallam.

2006-10-19
SAVE OUR PUBS.
Churches turned into pubs. Brooding Victorian warehouses replaced with sparkly identikit apartments. Family shops and independent cafes bankrupted by Starbucks, Tesco’s et al. When will we wake up to this grim, placeless reality?

Maybe. But this is not the real story, for what is happening just around the corner from me is probably also happening just around the corner from you. It's not isolated, it's not irrelevant and it's not to be dismissed. It is part of something wider 'a larger, and more significant trend, which is sold to us as 'progress', but is actually something very different.

Put simply, the things that make our towns, villages, cities and landscapes different, distinctive or special are being eroded, and replaced by things that would be familiar anywhere. It is happening all over the country, you can probably see at least one example of it from where you're sitting right now. The same chain stores in every high street, the same bricks in every new housing estate, the same signs on every road, and the same menu in every pub.

What these changes have in common is this: in each case, something distinctive is replaced by something bland; something organic by something manufactured; something definately local with something emptily placeless; something humanscale with something impersonal. The result is stark, simple and brutal: everywhere is becoming the same as everywhere else. character is being erased in the name of those two trusty old soldiers, progress and economic rationalism

The small, the ancient, the indefi nable, the unprofitable, the meaningful, the interesting and the quirky are being scoured out and bulldozed to make way for the clean, the sophisticated, the alien, the progressive, the corporate. It feels, to me, like a great loss, a hard-to-define but biting loss, which seems to suck the meaning from the places I care for or feel I belong to. It matters.

Why? Because in the name of economic efficiency, the things that really matter in life the texture, the colour, the detail, the complex web of intimate relationships between people and communities and the landscape they inhabit are being dismantled, with nobody's permission. Because our landscape is being rapidly and thoughtlessly remoulded to meet the short-term needs of a global economy that is built on sand. And because what we are losing, in the name of progress, is being replaced, in most cases, with things that are not better, but worse.

What we are losing is something that is uniquely, exquisitely small, local and impossible to define: a sense of place. It is a sense of place that binds healthy communities together, and distinguishes living cultures from dead ones. It is a sense of place that makes the difference between a country that is worth living in and one that isn't. And the paradox is that this galloping destruction of local distinctiveness has very global roots for it is primarily the ever-expanding global economy that is responsible.

Put crudely, a global market requires a global identity; not just goods, but landscapes themselves must be branded and made safe for the universal act of consumption. A global market requires global tastes we all have to want the same things, feel the same things, like or dislike the same things. Only that way can markets cross cultural boundaries. At the same time, an advanced industrial economy requires economies of scale which means mass production, the smoothing-out of edges, uniform and characterless development; the standardised manufacture of entire landscapes.

In order for the consumer economy to progress, we must cease to be people who belong to neighbourhoods, communities, localities. We must cease to value the distinctiveness of where we are. We must become consumers, bargain-hunters, dealers on a faceless, placeless international trading floor. We must cease to identify with place, or to care about it. We must cease, finally and forever, to belong to the land.

This loss of a sense of place – this loss of place itself – is both widely felt and largely unmentioned. While very large numbers of us can see this happening, and are concerned about it, few people join the dots or feel they are allowed to. In every local paper, in every local pub, in every community centre, every week of the year, people will be discussing these issues at a very local level. This new housing development, that new megastore, this street market closing down, the list goes on. People know something is wrong; they just don't know quite what, or why, or what to do about it. And if they complain, they are told by the political classes, and often by the media and its associated pundits, that none of this really matters. They are told that these are small, insignificant local issues, of no import in the grand scheme of things.

They are told to think about something more important: economic growth, perhaps, or the War on Terror. And if they persist, they are called 'nimbys', and pigeonholed as reactionaries or nostalgic idealists. No one, runs the subtext, has the right to take up arms in defence of their place, their sense of belonging, their attachment to a locality. We should all have better things to do.

But there are surely few better things to do. And the good news is that an increasing number of people seem to know it; and are starting to say it, loud and clear.

All over the UK, for example, you will find communities and individuals working to save their local pubs. You don't get much more of a distinctive marker of place than a local boozer, but thanks to corporate consolidation and dubious legislation, the traditional local is under threat as never before. According to the Campaign for Real Ale, 26 pubs close every month – virtually one a day.

Giant, ever-expanding pub corporations, with names like the Spirit Group and Enterprise Inns, who long ago took over ownership of pubs from brewers, are selling them off for housing or converting them into hip bars, identikit chains or eateries. In response, communities all over the country have been banding together to fight closures, and in some cases even buy pubs themselves, to protect them from the asset-strippers. Groups like the Community Pubs Association and Freedom for Pubs are growing larger as the pub companies continue. The local pub means too much to people to allow it to be homogenised into history.

Not everyone is prepared to go this far; but, nationally, plenty of people are prepared to take a stand it is a long, long list, and it seems a growing one. In a rapidly homogenising world, place, belonging, distinctiveness, and character seem to become more and more important in peoples' lives. Valuing common things, defending detail, understanding culture and landscape and fighting for its integrity in the face of an onrush of standardisation; suddenly, the small things seem terribly important after all.

Perhaps what we are witnessing here is the shy emergence of something newly self-aware: a politics of belonging. All over the country, the extinction of that sense of place is resisted by those
on the margins of political debate and economic influence. They are people who refuse to lie down before the juggernaut of a spurious progress, or to sacrifice the landscapes and cultures that matter to
them for the benefi t of a global economy that is beyond their control.

Standing up for our places fighting for them, refusing to let them be steamrollered by the consumer juggernaut; making them live again is something that should be able to unite left and right and everyone in-between. It is something that will annoy politicians of all stripes, and get right up the nose of a global money machine that wants us all to stop moaning, give up and go shopping.

In an age of global consumerism, corporate power and the dominance of a homogenising, placeless, economic ideology, it could be that the one truly radical thing to do is to belong.

Paul Kingsnorth is working on a book about place and the English landscape, to be published by Portobello in 2007. www.paulkingsnorth.net. Previously printed in the Ecologist - www.theecologist.org

2006-10-14
CIDER BESIDER.
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is asking pubs and pub goers to break from the norm and try real cider in October.

Until recently cider and perry (made from pears) have been out of favour with pub goers. However these drinks are gaining popularity and CAMRA is urging pubs to offer real cider and perry to their customers in October so they can experience the taste and quality from the UK's traditional producers.

Gillian Williams, CAMRA's Director of Cider and Perry campaigning, said: “In the early 90's large manufacturers flooded the market with cheap, high alcohol and low quality cider, thus ruining its reputation. Now people are starting to come back to cider, but unfortunately much of the cider available is fizzy and pasteurised.

"Real cider and perry are amazing drinks, bursting with flavour without the need for any additives. Anyone who tries a glass of real cider or perry in their local pub through October will be surprised and delighted. It's best to begin by using the bandings of 'dry, medium or sweet' to work out where your taste buds are happiest. You can then be amazed at the range of colours and overtones or notes which include citrus, floral, spicy and many others."

A number of events will be taking place throughout October to promote Cider Month.

CAMRA will be officially launching 2006 Cider Month at the Great British Cheese Festival - Britain's biggest cheese show (www.thecheeseweb.com). This Festival takes place on Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October at the Montpellier Gardens in Cheltenham.

CAMRA has been invited to take a stand to promote and sell cider and perry by festival sponsors Food from Britain (FFB) and both CAMRA and FFB were keen to raise the profile of both cider and perry to the 10,000 visitors to the festival and also demonstrate that cider and perry are natural accompaniments to cheese.

Pub-goers have been encouraged throughout the year to nominate pubs that they think serve the best real cider and perry in Britain. This is only the second year the award has been made.

With cider regaining popularity, CAMRA is asking people to give up a pint of "fizzy apple juice on ice" and try a pint of real cider at one of the many CAMRA beer and cider festivals in October.

Look on www.camra.org.uk/cidermonth to find cider events put on by local branches in your area.

2006-10-09
UNSPOILT BY PROGESS.
The country's most unspoilt pubs are featured in the new edition of the Good Beer Guide 2007 - published September 13th by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). The lists guide the reader to a rich variety of pubs ranging from humble rural gems to magnificent Victorian drinking palaces.

The traditional pub has been ravaged by change over the past few decades and CAMRA has put huge efforts into identifying the last-remaining examples. The new Good Beer Guide identifies 188 pubs which are still much as they were half a century ago. In addition the guide lists a further 63 examples where there are particular features or rooms in otherwise altered buildings which CAMRA considers to be of truly national importance.

CAMRA is publishing its list of National Inventory pubs to bring wider appreciation of them. Paul Ainsworth, Chair of CAMRA's Pub Heritage Group says: "We want owners to realise what precious assets they have and to use the positive benefits of heritage to enhance their businesses. If you have a genuine historic pub interior, what's the point of going to the trouble and expense of revamping it into one that's no different from thousands of others."

Geoff Brandwood, CAMRA's Historic Pubs Caseworker adds: "We hope users of the new Good Beer Guide will visit these very special places and so play a part in ensuring their survival for future generations to enjoy."

CAMRA's top 10 National Inventory pubs which serve great quality real ale:

1. Bridge Inn, Topsham, Devon - Untouched in generations, the beer is carried up by hand from the cellar. In the same family for over a century.

2. Crown, Belfast - Arguably the most sumptuously fitted pub in the entire UK. Tiny snugs, ceramic bar counter and fabulous decoration.

3. Dyffryn Arms, Pontfaen, Pembrokeshire - Unspoilt village local - llike thousands were and only a handful now are. Beer is served through a hatch from a ground-floor cellar.

4. Fleece, Bretforton, Worcestershire - A warren of different rooms and lovingly preserved by the National Trust. Lots of venerable woodwork which survived a major fire three years ago.

5. Garden Gate, Leeds - A magnificently fitted and decorated in Edwardian times. All-over mosaic floor in the public bar, ceramic bar counter and lots of lavish wood and glass.

6. Horseshoe Bar, Glasgow - A fine late Victorian interior in the heart of Glasgow. The circular bar counter is the longest in Scotland.

7. Red Lion, Snargate, Kent - A real timewarp on the edge of Romney Marsh. In the same family since 1911.

8. Salisbury, Harringay, London - Late Victorian pub fittings at their most glorious. Tiles, mosaics and superb mahogany fittings create the ambiance.

9. Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham - Lots of characterful rooms, some of them hewn out of the rock under Nottingham Castle. Claimed more in hope than fact to be the oldest pub in England!

10. Victoria, Durham - Built 107 years ago and still with its original layout and fittings. Three separate rooms and a miniscule 'family department' where people used to get their carry-outs before the days of Tesco and Calais.

2006-10-04
UNEMPLOYMENT!
Nottinghamshire's last remaining large-scale brewery will close before Christmas with the loss of 80 jobs.

Suffolk-based Greene King bought Hardys and Hansons in Kimberley and more than 200 East Midlands pubs in a £270m deal in September.

Greene King said brewing operations would move to Bury St Edmunds and 80 out of 100 staff could face redundancy.

The company confirmed cellar and distribution services will continue at the Kimberley site.

"We concluded with regret, that it doesn't make economic sense to continue brewing at Kimberley and sadly this means the brewery will close at the end of the year," said Rooney Anand, Greene King's chief executive.

"Greene King invests more in cask beer than any other brewer but to remain viable, returns have to be delivered on this investment," he added.

Richard Studeney from the Campaign for Real Ale, who opposed the takeover, said: "I must say that it's not unexpected but it's bad news for Nottinghamshire's brewing heritage and for those losing their jobs.

"What a nice Christmas present for them," he said.

2006-10-02
REVOLUTION CALLING!
Consumer demand for real ale has led to the birth of 84 new breweries in the UK that are listed in the Good Beer Guide 2007 - published on September 13th by the Campaign for Real Ale.

The boom in new British breweries shows no sign of abating as the Good Beer Guide 2007 lists the total number of small craft or micro breweries in Britain as more than 600.

Good Beer Guide 2007 Editor Roger Protz said: "There has never been greater choice and diversity for real ale. CAMRA is celebrating 35 years of active campaigning to save British beer, pubs and breweries and the surge in new craft breweries underscores everything CAMRA has done to provide better choice for drinkers."

"But the real driving force is consumer demand. The global brewers have turned their backs on cask beer to focus on lager and "'smoothflow' bitters but beer lovers want real ale. That was shown at this August's Great British Beer Festival in London, with a 40% increase in the number of people attending, bringing the total to more than 66,000. 1,300 drinkers joined CAMRA, boosting membership to an all-time high of 85,000."

Protz added that the boom in new breweries has been aided by the government's introduction of Progressive Beer Duty, a scheme that enables small breweries producing up to 60,000 hectolitres a year to pay less duty than bigger producers.

"PBD has been a boon to craft brewers," he said. "They have been able to invest in new equipment and even buy a pub or two to act as shop windows for their beers.

Roger Protz described the modern British brewing industry as "excitingly dynamic. Areas that used to be beer deserts now have many thriving craft breweries. Many of these breweries work together to expand their sales - witness for example the East Anglian Brewers' Co-operative that delivers members' beers from one vehicle.

"This chimes with the times - cutting down on road miles and providing beers for consumers made from locally grown, natural ingredients.

But Protz lambasts the global brewers for turning their backs on real ale and ignoring consumer preference.

"The globals - Scottish & Newcastle, Coors, InBev and Carlsberg - have lost interest in the cask beer sector in order to make bigger profits from processed beers," he said. "S&N has closed both its ale breweries in Edinburgh and Newcastle to concentrate on Kronenbourg. Its owns John Smith's in Tadcaster but produces most bitter in nitro-keg or smooth form - that is pasteurised and artificially carbonated and then served extremely cold and tasteless.

"Coors, the American owner of the former Bass breweries in Burton-on-Trent, has dumped all its cask brands and has them brewed under licence by smaller regional brewers. InBev, the world's biggest brewer owned by Brazilians and Belgians, has similarly off-loaded Draught Bass and Boddington's Bitter to smaller brewers."

InBev's interest in the cask sector, Protz said, can be measured by the sad decline in sales of Draught Bass, once worth two million barrels a year but now below 100,000, overtaken by the likes of Fuller's London Pride and Marston's Pedigree.

"In spite of the best efforts of the globals, the future is bright for real ale. The craft brewers are not restricting themselves to just making bitter. Drinkers can now enjoy genuine mild, porter, stout, old ale, barley wine, harvest beer and winter ale. And the emergence of a new style - golden ale - means this really is a golden time for beer lovers."

*Yorkshire keeps its crown as the region with the biggest number of independent breweries with 66. This is made up of:
East Yorkshire: 4
North Yorkshire: 24
South Yorkshire: 10
West Yorkshire: 28

Norfolk has a remarkable number of 26 breweries.

Greater Manchester has a formidable 21 independent breweries.
Cumbria, where the population trebles in the summer, notches up 20.

Devon, another country dependent on tourists, has 22 breweries.
Somerset and Derbyshire list 20 breweries each.

Staffordshire has 17 breweries.

Gloucestershire & Bristol has 15 breweries.

Cornwall has 15.

Shropshire has 14.

And Cheshire has 12.

The Good Beer Guide 2007 is available from CAMRA priced 14.99. Order by calling 01727 867201

2006-09-25
16 OF THE BEST
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) today reveals the 16 best pubs in Britain that appear in the new Good Beer Guide 2007 - published September 13th.

Each of the pubs is the winner of the Pub of the Year competition from each of CAMRA's 16 regions. One of them will be crowned National Pub of the Year 2006 in early 2007.

This year's 16 regional winners which feature in the Good Beer Guide 2007 are:

# Scotland & NI: Failford Inn, Failford, South Ayrshire
# North West: Wasdale Head Inn, Wasdale Head, Cumbria
# North East: Kings Arms, Deptford, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear
# G. Manchester: Vale Cottage, Gorton, G. Manchester
# Merseyside & N Wales: Bhurtpore Arms, Aston, Cheshire
# Yorkshire: West Riding Refreshment Rooms, Dewsbury Rail Station, West Yorkshire
# East Midlands: Thorold Arms, Harmston, Lincolnshire
# West Midlands: Norman Knight, Whichford, Warwickshire
# East Anglia: Dove Street Inn, Ipswich, Suffolk
# Kent: Halfway House, Brenchley, Kent
# London: Lion, Teddington, W. London
# Surrey & Sussex: Surrey Oaks, Newdigate, Surrey
# South West: Tom Cobley Tavern, Spreyton, Devon
# South Wales: Clytha Arms, Clytha, Gwent
# Wessex: Digby Tap, Sherborne, Dorset
# Central Southern: Bell, Aldworth, Berkshire

Good Beer Guide Editor Roger Protz said: "There are more than 4,500 entries in the Good Beer Guide 2007 and the criteria for entry is simply that the pub must show commitment to the finest quality real ale. For these 16 to have been judged the best pubs in Britain by CAMRA members is an achievement each of them can be extremely proud of."

The 34th edition of the award-winning guide highlights the top 4,500 real ale pubs in Britain and offers a unique directory to every brewery in the country, large or small, with details of all the cask-conditioned and bottle-conditioned beers they brew, together with unique tasting notes.

Each pub entry, surveyed on a regular basis throughout the year by CAMRA members, gives a detailed summary of why the pub has been included in the Good Beer Guide and highlights information on the pub's facilities for families and the disabled, history, architecture, food, accommodation, local places of interest and, of course, the beer!

Protz continued: "The pubs that appear in the Good Beer Guide are all selected by CAMRA members who update every detail. This ensures that the Good Beer Guide is the most comprehensive guide to real ale pubs available."

The Good Beer Guide 2007, edited by Roger Protz, is available from CAMRA priced 14.99. Visit www.camra.org.uk/books or call 01727 867201.

2006-09-14
BEER WE GO.
Traditional British beer is on the rise with a boom in the real ale industry.

According to the 2007 Good Beer Guide, 84 new breweries have opened in the past year selling ale that is free of artificial additives, colourings and flavourings.

These include micro-breweries which may produce as little as 10 barrels of beer per week, according to the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra).

But the guide's editor Roger Protz warned that larger regional breweries, Gale's of Hampshire and Ridley's of Essex, have closed down after being taken over.

Camra wants staff to be given the option of launching management buy-outs or co-operatives to prevent any more breweries closing down in future.

Mr Protz said: "I think it is probably the most exciting time for drinking real ale that I can think of. The choice is absolutely fantastic.

"What we need to do is safeguard the medium sized breweries so that beers can continue to be made available."

The Good Beer Guide lists the UK's 16 best real ale pubs which have been shortlisted for its Pub of the Year final in February 2007.

These finalists are in no particular order:

:: Failford Inn, Failford, South Ayrshire
:: Wasdale Head Inn, Wasdale Head, Cumbria
:: Kings Arms, Deptford, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear
:: Vale Cottage, Gorton, Greater Manchester
:: Bhurtpore Arms, Aston, Cheshire
:: West Riding Refreshment Rooms, Dewsbury Rail Station, West Yorkshire
:: Thorold Arms, Harmston, Lincolnshire
:: The Norman Knight, Whichford, Warwickshire
:: The Dove Street Inn, Ipswich
:: The Halfway House, Brenchley, Kent
:: The Lion, Teddington, West London
:: Surrey Oaks, Newdigate, Surrey
:: Tom Cobley Tavern, Spreyton, Devon
:: Clytha Arms, Clytha, Gwent
:: Digby Tap, Sherborne, Dorset
:: The Bell, Aldworth, Berkshire

2006-09-11
CONTAMINATION.
LANDLORD Ray Evitts today issued a warning after 40 barrels of contaminated beer were stolen from his pub garden in Coventry.

Thieves loaded up the beer into a van after pulling up at the Ray's pub, the Royal Oak in Earlsdon Street, Earlsdon, yesterday morning.

But what they didn't know was that the ale had been contaminated with filthy water when the cellar flooded in the violent rainstorms last month.

Ray, who has run the pub for 14 years, admits he couldn't help but laugh when he heard what had been stolen.

Ray, who has run the pub for 14 years, said: "It's worse than fiction. It's like something that would happen to Del Boy.

"I did laugh but the sad part is it's highly dangerous because it has all been submerged in funny water."

The barrels were stacked in the back garden waiting to be thrown away when the thieves struck. They had to haul the barrels over a six foot wall and load them into a waiting van.

Ray's wife Debbie, who helps him run the pub, said: "We wouldn't be stupid enough to leave it all out here if there wasn't something wrong with it.

"To be honest they have taken a bit of a problem off our hands because we would have had to get rid of it anyway."

The pub, which is currently closed for repairs, suffered thousands of pounds of damage when the floods struck on August 18.

Other businesses throughout the city have also been left counting the cost.

Police have issued a warning to the thieves telling them not to drink the beer and have informed staff at University Hospital in Walsgrave to be prepared for poisoning cases.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0845 113 5000.

2006-09-08
NEW WINE, OLD BOTTLES.
Taking lessons from the UK wine industry, CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, and 14 real ale breweries will today launch a new initiative called "'Cyclops' at the Great British Beer Festival. "'Cyclops' aims to demystify real ale after research showed that 1 in 3 people would try more real ale if its characteristics were made easier to understand in pubs.

Declining beer sales in the UK have brought beer consumers and brewers together to revitalise the market for real ale, Britain's national pub drink. Following the success of the wine industry (see Notes for Editors) to make wine more accessible to all consumers through simple tasting notes Cyclops will use common language to explain what different real ales should look, smell and taste like. Sweetness and bitterness are the two dominant taste qualities of real ale and Cyclops using a scale of 1 to 5 for each enables drinkers to work out how sweet and bitter they like their beers.

The new scheme was the brainchild of David Bremner, Head of Marketing at Everards Brewery in Leicester. Everards pilot scheme aimed to promote its beers to new consumers who may have never tried real ale before or who had only tried a few pints in the past. By using attractive imagery and simplified language, real ales are described on promotional material such as beer mats, posters, tasting cards and pump-clip crowners to inform consumers of what they are buying. This information will also be placed on the back on beer handpulls to keep pub staff informed of what the real ale is like.

Tony Jerome, CAMRA's Senior Marketing Manager said, "Real ale is an incredibly complex drink with an enormous range of styles and tastes. Cyclops will demystify real ale so drinkers will know what a beer will look, smell and taste like before they part with their cash at the bar."

Jerome continued, "A great deal of skill and care goes into the brewing of real ale and there are many thousands of dedicated connisseurs and enthusiasts which has led to a whole new and fascinating language behind beer tasting. Research shows, however, that drinkers who are less familiar with real ale want to know in easy to understand terms what the beer tastes like. I am convinced that Cyclops will revitalise the real ale market by enticing younger drinkers, both male and female to try our national drink. They will quickly learn to appreciate its complex flavours and we are confident that they will soon become enthusiasts."

The new scheme is called 'Cyclops' due to the one eye, nose and mouth imagery used on the promotional material. 14 real ale breweries, from across Britain, have already signed up to the campaign and will be using it on their beers in pubs.

The 14 breweries are:

Everards (Leicestershire), Wolverhampton & Dudley Brands (National), Woodforde's (Norfolk), Camerons (County Durham), Hook Norton (Oxfordshire), Fuller's (London), Refresh UK (Oxfordshire), Robinson's (Cheshire), Hall & Woodhouse (Dorset), Elgoods (Cambridgeshire), Wadworth (Wiltshire), Titanic (Stoke on Trent), Charles Wells (Bedfordshire), Caledonian (Edinburgh)

Market research results:

32% of all adults polled agreed that a universal real ale scheme, similar to the wine industry, that simplifies real ale, would encourage them to try more real ale.
35% of female regular pub goers also agreed with this statement.
55% of those that said they drink real ale ‘often' said they would try more real ale if a scheme was introduced.
43% of those that said they drink real ale ‘sometimes' said they would try more real ale if a scheme was introduced.
40% aged 18-24 years old said they would give real ale a try if a scheme was introduced.

Tony Jerome continued, "There are approximately 2,500 real ales on today's market and it is impossible for everybody to know what each beer looks, smells and tastes like. The market research shows some very interesting figures to prove that a universal scheme, supported by the real ale industry, that demystifies real ale, will encourage more consumers to give it a try. With so much choice and many different beer styles available a scheme like this is needed to help people find out what real ales suit their taste buds. Consumers will be able to create their very own real ale profile by finding out what beer styles, colours, smells and tastes they prefer and know how bitter and sweet they like their beers. Once someone has found out their profile they can try other beers that they may have not heard of in other pubs that match their criteria."

An example of the information a consumer will find on the Point of Sale material in pubs:

Brewery: Everards
Beer Name: Sunchaser
Style: Blonde Beer / ABV 4%
See: Gold Straw
Smell: Delicate, Citrus Fruit
Taste: Subtle, Zesty, Sweet
Bitter: 1.5
Sweet: 3

To view the brewery partners Point of Sale material please visit www.camra.org.uk/cyclops

Tony Jerome concluded, "We are calling on every real ale brewer in the land to join the scheme. Real ale sales have been in decline in recent years but there has been a huge increase in the number of breweries with an extra 60 starting up in the last 12 months alone. With thousands of real ales for people to try, there is something out there for everyone. It is a matter of giving the new consumer the information to make real ale easy to understand, help them find which beers they prefer and with more real ale breweries signing up to Cyclops I believe we have the solution to increase real ales appeal to younger markets."

2006-08-31
CUMBRIAN DELIGHT
Just over a year ago Anita Garnett spent her working week trimming fringes, doing highlights and blow-drying wayward tresses.

Twelve months on, she has sold her hair dressing salon and spends much of her time mucking around with mash tuns, coppers and fermenting vessels.

She has become a rare female addition to the growing army of UK microbrewers.

Together with partner and fellow real ale aficionado Paul Swann, Ms Garnett has set up the Ulverston Brewing Company in a spruced-up farm shed on the outskirts of the Cumbrian market town.

Although she is the brewery's only full-time employee, it marks the realisation of a long-held ambition for Mr Swann, since the demise of the local Hartley's brewery in 1991.

"I knew Ulverston was big enough to have its own brewery, and that someone else would do it if I didn't," he says.

"I just woke up one morning and decided it was going to happen."

A key early task for most brewers is to come up with a catchy name that both registers where the product comes from and appeals to real ale drinkers looking for a new brand.

Paul and Anita didn't have to look far for inspiration, which came in the form of one of the town's most famous sons, comedian Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy fame.

"I had already decided on the Stan Laurel connection, and had his films buzzing around my head for 15 years," says Mr Swann.

Sure enough, the Ulverston Brewing Company's early brews have been named accordingly: Lonesome Pine, Laughing Gravy, Harvest Moon and Another Fine Mess.

Paul Swann and Anita Garnett serving up a pint of their finest beer
The brewery has named its beers after Laurel and Hardy films

Like other would-be microbrewers, the first step for the pair was to book a place on one of the start-up courses run at the University of Sunderland's Brewlab.

The couple then ploughed the best part of £35,000 into finding some premises and installing the essential equipment, most of it second-hand.

The brewery started production in mid-March and is currently producing 17 nine-gallon firkins from its weekly brew.

It supplies about 25 regular pubs and a growing number of beer festivals.

But the difficulty the brewery faces, together with many others, is that most pubs are owned by big pub companies or brewers that don't allow guest beers - or if they do - only one at a time.

Most of its business comes from the relatively low number of free houses that have the ability to pick and choose the beers they offer.

"Don't come into this industry thinking you will get rich, do it because you are passionate," adds Mr Swann.

"Overhearing a conversation where people are saying how much they enjoyed your beer gives me the same buzz that I used to get from giving a good haircut," Anita adds.

Fifteen miles up the road, near the shores of Coniston Water, another Cumbrian microbrewery has proved that there is money to be made from mucking about with malt, hops, yeast and water.

The Coniston Brewing Company was set up in 1995 by Ian Bradley, whose family owns the Black Bull Inn in Coniston.

Another graduate of the Brewlab course, Mr Bradley made a small profit supplying his family's pub and a few other local outlets until things really took off in 1998.

That was when his Bluebird Bitter - named after the boat used when Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record on Coniston Water in 1967 - was voted Supreme Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival.

Together with his five staff, Mr Bradley now produces 130 firkins of ale a week, a quarter of which goes to the Black Bull, the rest to about 50 pubs in the local area.

The brewery also licences another brewery in Oxfordshire to produce a bottled version of its Bluebird Bitter, which sells 750,000 bottles a year.

One of the keys to running a successful microbrewery is consistency, Mr Bradley says.

"Making beer is straightforward, but making it the same week-in, week-out, is difficult. There can be big differences in the quality of the hops and malt crop each year."

Paul Bradley and some of his award winning ale
Major beer awards have driven the success of Coniston's brew

Another important part of the process is the laborious task of cleaning. Much of a microbrewer's week is spent scrubbing and washing the casks, kettles and vats that turn the ingredients into beer.

The Ulverston and Coniston microbreweries are just two of 22 similar enterprises up and running in Cumbria, which now has the largest range of small regional brewers in the country after Yorkshire and Norfolk.

A key reason for the recent growth in the industry was the introduction of the progressive beer duty in 2002, which gave big tax breaks to smaller brewers.

Ian Bradley reckons this change halved his beer duty charges, saving the Coniston Brewery £50,000 a year.

Across the UK, the industry is in rude health, says Roger Protz, editor of the Good Beer Guide.

"The 2006 edition of the guide had 80 new breweries listed in the UK, and there will be at least 60 more in the 2007 guide," he says.

Including beer bought in shops, real ale's share of the UK market has sunk to just 7%, but Mr Protz says there seems to be sufficient demand for most of the new microbreweries springing up.

"We also list the breweries that are closing down each year, and there are not many - they are mainly larger regional breweries that have been taken over by their bigger rivals who are buying them for the pub chains that they own."

Mr Protz's advice for any would-be microbrewers is to try and ensure a shop window for their beer, whether than means finding some local pubs that are willing to stock your product, or even buying your own pub.

He also suggests joining a delivery scheme like that run by the Society of Independent Brewers, which enables small regional brewers to trade with the big pub companies and retailers.

2006-08-29
CIDER GOOD FOR YOU.
Scientists in Glasgow are examining whether drinking cider may offer the same health benefits as eating apples.

The researchers have found that English cider apples have high levels of "phenolic antioxidants" - linked to protection against strokes and cancer.

The next stage of the study, partly funded by the National Association of Cider Makers, is to analyse how humans absorb these chemicals from cider.

Twelve volunteers have been recruited to take part in the tests. They will each drink a pint of cider, while avoiding all other dietary sources of antioxidants, and urine and blood samples will then be analysed.

Serena Marks, who is leading the study, said: "Previous research suggests there may be an association between phenolics and protection against some serious diseases, so we are trying to find out how we get phenolics from our diet."

The scientists have already found that some varieties of apples and some types of cider have higher levels of phenolics than others.

Ms Marks said the production methods of cider could be adapted so that the phenolic levels remained high, even after fermentation.

The research is part of a project funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the National Association of Cider Makers.

Professor Nigel Brown, of the BBSRC, said: "This exciting research shows how scientists and industry can work together to improve manufacturing techniques, not just for economic gain, but to bring about potential health benefits for the public too."

2006-08-17
GREENE KING TO ACQUIRE HARDYS AND HANSONS FOR 270M.
Shareholders of brewer and pub operator Hardys & Hansons have granted approval to Greene King's 271m acquisition of the company.

Suffolk-based Greene King will pay 212m for Hardys & Hansons ordinary share capital and a further 58m for its issued share capital.

Hardys & Hansons, based in Nottingham, operates an estate of more than 250 pubs, and brews beers such as Olde Trip and Best Bitter.

Greene King made an agreed offer in June this year, when chief executive Rooney Anand said: 'The great thing about Greene King and Hardys & Hansons joining forces is that we are like-minded companies.

Central to our philosophies is delivering excellent customer service and brewing top quality beer.'

The deal is expected to close in September this year. Details: www.greeneking.co.uk

2006-08-06
ICED BEER.
A brewery in Greenland is producing beer using water melted from the ice cap of the vast Arctic island. The brewers claim that the water is at least 2,000 years old and free of minerals and pollutants.

The first 66,000 litres of the new dark and pale ales are on their way to the Danish market. The beer from Greenland - a semi-autonomous Danish territory - has 5.5% alcohol and costs 37 kroner (3.4; five euros) per half-litre bottle.

It is the first ever Inuit microbrewery - located in Narsaq, a hamlet 625km (390 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. The beer is shipped to Stralsund, on Germany's north coast, to be bottled. With a capacity of 400,000 litres a year, the brewery has ambitions beyond the Danish market.

"We've got enquiries from the US and from Germany and we will probably be launching it on the German market in, let's say, six months," Said Steen Outzen, the brewery owner.

It is claimed that the Greenland beer, officially launched in Copenhagen on Monday, has a softer, cleaner taste than other beers, because of the ice cap water. The gigantic island of Greenland measures 2.2 million square km (844,000 square miles) - 85% of it covered with ice that is up to 4,000 metres (11,000 feet) thick.

2006-05-06
LIGHT RELIEF.
CAMRA has today revealed that there are now 570 small and regional brewers in the UK compared to only 440 in 2002 when Small Breweries' Relief was introduced. There is now greater choice than at any time since CAMRA was founded in 1971.

Small Breweries' Relief means small brewers pay reduced tax on the beer that they produce. Under the current system all brewers producing less than 60,000 hectolitres a year benefit.

Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) has tabled a parliamentary motion backing Small Breweries' Relief, and is calling for the threshold to be extended up to 200,000 hectolitres so that even more brewers can benefit.

CAMRA Chief Executive Mike Benner said:

'Small Breweries' Relief has helped create renewed interest in real ale, and this can only be good news for all those who care about real ale. Over 130 more small real ale brewers is fantastic news to our 80,000 members and all fans of real ale.'

'It is a sad fact that over 80% of the beer drunk in the UK is produced by four global brewers. Small Breweries' Relief is crucial in helping Britain's small and regional brewers compete against the huge economic muscle of the global brewers. Small Breweries' Relief should be extended to the 200,000 hectoliters to help support more of Britain's independent brewers.

'Thirteen EU countries provide tax relief for small breweries producing up to 200,000 hectolitres annually and CAMRA is urging Britain to follow the lead of other beer loving nations such as Germany.'

On the date of release 37 MP's from all parties have so far signed Early Day Motion 1955 calling for Small Breweries' Relief to be extended.

Greg Mulholland MP said: 'The relief for small breweries is of course welcome. It has helped micro-breweries produce many excellent brews including some local to me.

'However there are small independent breweries that do not currently quality for such relief. It is time they were given the same support levels to allow all small breweries to flourish.

'There is currently a perverse disincentive to be successful. We should not be holding these independent brewers back in this way.'

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