ALL ABOUT CAMRA


    What is CAMRA?
    CAMRA is an independent, voluntary, not-for-profit consumer organisation. Membership is open to all individuals, but corporate entities such as breweries and pubs are not members. CAMRA is governed by a voluntary unpaid national executive, elected by the membership. There is a small professional staff responsible for central campaigning, research, administration of membership, sales and so forth.

    How is CAMRA Financed?
    CAMRA is financed through membership subscriptions, sales of products such as books and sweatshirts, and from the proceeds of branch fundraising. 

    CAMRA's Objectives
    CAMRA's mission is to act as champion of the consumer in relation to the UK and European beer and drinks industry. It aims to:

    1.Maintain consumer rights
    2.Support the public house as a focus of community life
    3.Campaign for greater appreciation of traditional beers, ciders and perries as part of national heritage and culture
    4.Seek improvements in all licensed premises and throughout the brewing industry
    5.CAMRA also seeks to promote real cider and perry through a sub-organisation called APPLE. Like ale, these are traditional British drinks and like ale, the traditional product is very different from the 'dead' version.

    Campaigning
    While CAMRA is a single industry group, it has a very wide area of campaigning interests. At present some of the campaigns we are actively pursuing include the following:

    1.Improved competition and choice in the brewing industry
    2.Fighting take-overs and mergers
    3.Encouraging higher standards of pub design
    4.Encouraging brewers to produce a wide range of beer styles such as porter, mild and stout, in addition to their bitters

    CAMRA Success

    1.CAMRA saved real ale, it is no exaggeration to say, and as a result saved many independent breweries. No new ale breweries were set up in the UK for the fifty years before we were founded in 1971. There are now hundreds of newer brewers producing real ale, part of a massive real ale revival.
    2.Our membership has increased from 20000 since 1989 to over 100,000 in 2010. At the present time real ale is the only drink style in growth as we see a more discerning drinker.
    3.We have defeated several brewery take-overs. We were successful in seeing more liberal licensing laws introduced in England, Scotland and Wales. We got the brewers to declare the strengths of their beers. We campaign against the closure of local pubs or their destruction through refurbishment. For many years we have sought fundamental change in the industry to protect consumer choice.

    How does CAMRA campaign?
    We produce a hard-hitting newspaper, "What's Brewing", which goes free to our members, the brewery trade and the media. It plays a major role in informing beer drinkers and putting across our views. The aim is not just to be critical. Through numerous books, guides, awards and presentations, we praise good practice and encourage high standards, whether in brewing, pub cellarmanship, pub design or simply running a good pub. The Great British Beer Festival, The Good Beer Guide, the Champion Beer of Britain Awards and the Pub of the Year are all national in our scope, but many of our 200- plus local branches run local festivals and awards, and produce their own local guides.

    It is important to realise that CAMRA is a decentralised organisation, and most of its work is done by volunteers at local level, reinforcing national drives.

    We campaign against brewery take-overs because they lead to brewery closures, loss of established beers, higher prices and reduced choice. Such campaigns are a good example of the way we go about things. Lively and sometimes controversial campaigns are mounted at local level, with backup from headquarters. MPs, councillors, trade unions, licensees and workers might be involved. Tactics we have used include petitions, threatened boycotts, publicity stunts, marches, laying wreaths outside closed breweries and so forth.

    Nationally we will make submissions to the shareholders, and to regulatory authorities such as the Office of Fair Trading and the Monopoly and Mergers Commission, and, for very large mergers, the European Commission.

    Regular local beer festivals play a major role not just as fund raisers but also to keep people informed about CAMRA's work, and the vast range of beers that are still available. This continuous background work has doubtless helped change attitudes towards real ale.