It comes after what has been a disastrous fifteen months for the Campaign for Real Ale which has not only seen the organisation’s income fall off a cliff (primarily due to not being able to run beer festivals), but has also seen the Campaign involved in an embarrassing series of blunders and faux pas.
The most notorious gaffe was the infamous Coronavirus-themed commemorative glass, for the equally pointless “virtual” Great British Beer Festival, but there have also been serious allegations of bullying, along with the promotion of a “toxic culture” at a senior level within the Campaign.
I wrote an article about the Coronavirus glass, last year, and also lambasted the idea of a “virtual GBBF,” but have no intention of getting involved with the bullying allegations (shades of Brew Dog?), but what I will say is the news story I am about to reveal, represents a real chance for CAMRA to redeem itself, especially in the eyes of those members who claim the organisation is promoting beer festivals at the expense of pubs.
As I’m sure most of you will know by now, the Campaign for Real Ale’s flagship Great British Beer Festival (GBBF), normally held in August at the London Olympia, has been cancelled, for the second year running. This is due to uncertainty surrounding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The organisation is encouraging licensees to hold events and activities celebrating real beer and real cider, as part of a Great British Beer Festival at Your Local event, which will take place from 30 July – 8 August, just a week after the revised date that restrictions are supposed to end.
This support is particularly important in a year that the industry needs it most, and in the absence of the usual, single national festival, the plan is that CAMRA GBBF at Your Local, will shine a light on the best that the nation’s pubs, clubs, breweries, and cider producers have to offer.
CAMRA claims that this grassroots, nationwide festival hits right at the heart of the Campaign, and is encouraging pubs, clubs and breweries to host a range of activities, over the 10-day period. These
Suggested activities include:
Bringing in special guest beers
Putting on mini beer festivals
Arranging meet the brewer sessions and tastings.
Promoting cask conditioned real ale and real cider.
Brewery tourshttps://local.gbbf.org.uk/ to find out more.
Great British Beer Festival Organiser Catherine Tonry said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring the Great British Beer Festival to the pubs, clubs and breweries that have worked so hard to stay afloat in the toughest of years. We hope that beer and cider lovers alike will make their way down to their local to celebrate in whatever way they can, be that trying a brand-new tipple, learning first-hand from brewers, or attending their local mini festival.”
It will be interesting to see how many pubs clubs and breweries heed CAMRA’s call and run the type of events the Campaign is talking about.