Thursday, 29 April 2010
Whilst at the recent CAMRA AGM in the Isle of Man I picked up a handful of magazines produced by various local CAMRA branches. I always make a point of picking up these publications whenever I get the chance (GBBF is normally a good place for this), as not only are they a good read, but more importantly they show what is happening on the beer and pub scene in different parts of the country.
This latest haul included such titles as Mersey Ale, Potters Bar, ShakesBeer, Beer on Tap, Pints West, Derby Drinker and of course that perennial favourite London Drinker. It's good to see what pubs are like in these different areas, what local drinkers and CAMRA members are up to and what is happening at local breweries in these places.
The overall impression that comes across from these magazines, is despite the tough trading times that many pubs find themselves in, those that are genuinely offering what their customers want are thriving. Local craft brewers are also reporting an increase in sales, and there are numerous reports of micro-breweries installing extra fermenters, or even new plant to cope with this extra demand.
The other good thing about these magazines is that they are self-funding, which is good news in itself but, more importantly, shows that breweries, pubs and clubs hold them in high esteem - otherwise they wouldn't be prepared to advertise in them. Many are full-colour publications and are produced to a very high standard. Things have obviously come a long way from the days when I was involved in producing a branch newsletter. Back then all we had at our disposal was an electric typewriter, plus Letraset for the headings. Artwork was literally "cut and paste", with scissors and Cow Gum being the order of the day.
Nowadays, with most people having access to a computer and the very professional desk-top publishing programmes that are on offer, life is a lot easier, although editors and copy-writers still have to work hard to come up with interesting and informative articles. I therefore raise my glass to all these hard-working activists up and down the land. Long may their efforts continue to publicise the often unseen work that CAMRA does at grass roots level.