Could CAMRA be coming to an end?

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It has been a trusted staple of beer guides and pub reviews for decades.

But organisers at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) say the organisation as we know it could be coming to an end.

Nearly 180,000 CAMRA members across the UK will this summer be asked to share their views in a series of consultations about what the organisation should represent in the future.

They will be asked whether CAMRA should move away from promoting and protecting traditional real ale and become more inclusive, or drop issues like pubs’ heritage, cider and foreign beer.

Michael Hardman, CAMRA co-founder, has returned to the organisation to lead a review of the organisation’s strategy called the Revitalisation Project.

He said: “This could mark a fundamental turning point for the Campaign for Real Ale. So fundamental, it may no longer continue as the Campaign for Real Ale and instead become a campaign for pubs, or a campaign for all drinkers.

“It’s not up to us though. It’s up to our members to tell us what they want the Campaign to do in the future.

“CAMRA has sometimes been criticised for failing to move with the times, being old-fashioned and reactionary, and failing to embrace developments in the pub and beer industry such as craft beer. This is the chance for our members to tell us who we should represent in the future and what we should be campaigning for.”

The review of the organisation comes after the rise of craft beer in recent years.

Options for the future direction of CAMRA include becoming a consumer organisation for all beer drinkers, all pub-goers regardless of what they drink, or even all alcohol drinkers irrespective of where they drink.

A final decision on its future will be considered for approval in April 2017.

Mr Hardman added: “Who do we represent now, and who should we represent in the future to help secure the best outcome for the brewing and pub industry?

“If we want to play a key part in driving the beer market back into growth and to help create a thriving pub sector, do we continue with our narrow focus, or should we become more inclusive?

“I’ve always been immensely proud to be a founding member of CAMRA. I’m just as proud to be able to return to head up the Revitalisation Project to ensure the organisation we launched in 1971 is relevant and effective for the next 45 years.

“When we founded the Campaign the most important thing was choice and combatting poor quality beer. Now our members need to tell us what is important to them. We need to hear from as many CAMRA members as possible to tell us what they think the organisation should look like in the future.”

All CAMRA members will be posted a consultation booklet and invited to complete a survey and attend one of almost 50 consultation meetings across the country this summer.

Consultation sessions will also be held with selected stakeholders in the pub and brewing industry, as well as with journalists and MPs.

The Revitalisation Project steering group will consider the outcomes of the consultation and present a proposal for CAMRA’s future purpose, positioning and campaigning activity for members to approve at CAMRA’s Members’ Weekend in April 2017.

Click here for more information about the Revitalisation Project www.camra.org.uk

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