Sunday, 15 January 2017

All quiet on the western front

It’s been rather quiet on the beer front since the start of January, with not a lot to report. Last Monday I attended a “Business Meeting” held by my local CAMRA branch. These events take place every couple of months and are about as formal as things go in West Kent CAMRA. The branch likes to rotate them amongst the three main towns within the area: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

I don’t always go along, but seeing as Monday’s meeting was held at the Primrose; a small, attractive, weather-boarded pub which is just five minutes walk from my front door, I thought I’d better show my face!

Our new branch chairman has a less formal style than his predecessor, and allowed the conversation, and debate to flow; instead of restricting it in a rush to get through the agenda. I rather liked this approach, and may go along to more meetings, even though I am no longer on the branch committee.

Apart from the rather mundane matters of GBG selections and Pub of the Year (don’t call it POTY unless you really intend to get my goat up!), the main item for discussion was the findings of CAMRA’s much vaunted “Revitalisation Project”. “Much ado about nothing”, was my summation; an opinion which was echoed by several others of those present, but leaving aside issues such as the increased status of cider within the Campaign, the chief concern was that of attracting new and active members.

Excuse the camera angle; I was completely sober when I took this shot!
Several ideas were floated around, but having seen many of them tried, and failed, in the past, I kept my mouth shut. The problem is we have over six hundred members on our books, but only see a fraction of them at branch meetings or socials. Monday’s meeting was actually the first one in ages where attendance reached double figures (but only just!).

The pub was reasonably busy for a Monday evening, but this was almost certainly due to the darts match it was hosting, and the presence of us CAMRA members. The sole beer, Harvey’s Sussex Best was in good nick, and all in all I enjoyed the meeting, especially as it afforded the chance to catch up with friends after the Christmas-New Year break.

I’m still none the wiser as to how we will attract new blood into the branch, but I suppose we’ll soldier on in the same vein for a few more years yet!

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