Friday, 17 April 2015


Tomorrow I'm off to Nottingham for the CAMRA Members Weekend and AGM.  I'm quite looking forward to it, especially as I've laid off the demon drink in preparation for it. Nottingham may not be the bonniest city in the world, but it doesn't lack pubs, so while the motions for debate don't hugely excite, I'm looking forward to it.

Mind you, I didn't get off to the best of starts on Wednesday when I managed to offend the Cellar Manager of the AGM Beerex on Twitter with what I thought was a fairly innocent remark, but with a bit of turning the other cheek, I think I'll survive.  Back to the main event, I'll be looking to speak on one or two motions, particularly the following:

Motion 5

This Conference recognises that the Campaign for Real Ale believes in choice and that denigrating whatever people choose to drink is counterproductive and can alienate existing and potential members. Therefore, it instructs all branches to desist from “anti campaigns” against other drinks.
Proposed by Marketing and Communications Committee

Motion 11

This Conference instructs the National Executive not to enter into any promotions or campaigns that promote all beers and not real ale specifically.
Proposed by Steve Bury, Seconded by Phil Defriez

Motion 12

This Conference instructs the National Executive to withdraw CAMRA from the Cyclops scheme as it has expanded to all beers and is not fit for purpose.
Proposed by South Hertfordshire Branch

Motion 15

This Conference instructs the National Executive to investigate a labelling scheme for naturally conditioned Key Keg beer, which would allow customers to identify which beers, at the point of sale, conform with the CAMRA criteria for real ale.

Proposed by Melissa Reed, Seconded by Allan Conner

There's one or two others, but as these are about internal CAMRA stuff, I won't mention them here. Just to avoid doubt, I'll be hoping to speak for Motion 5, against Motions11 and 12 and will wait and see what Motion 15 is driving at. It's more fun when you get up and speak, so should make life a bit more interesting.

I'll let you know how it all goes.

The best bit will be seeing old friends of course. It usually is, but I'll enjoy the beer too. I think Nottingham is sparkler territory.


Phil said...

Fair comment at the end of the day - 10-13 is Cask Marque's recommended range for cask, so aiming for 13 doesn't leave any room for manoeuvre. Shame the guy was so defensive - it sounds like what he was really saying was "we can't afford a proper cooling setup for all this beer, so we've set the aircon as low as it will go", which is a perfectly legitimate tradeoff.

The Beer Nut said...

5 is a cracker and, wow, 12 is a real nose-off-to-spite-face job.

15 is a jolly interesting one indeed. A lot of Keykeg beer is fully compliant with CAMRA's definition (inasmuch as any beer can be), but lacks the peripheral theatrics of a handpump or gravity dispense. I guess it comes down to: do we want more people choosing Real Ale even when it comes from a keg, or is the risk of choosing a beer with the wrong kind of CO2 by mistake too high.

Have a great weekend!

DaveS said...

5, 11 & 12 definitely interesting.

I'm guessing that the point of 15 is partly about forcing CAMRA folk to deal with a little bit of the sort of woolly thinking that treats "keg", "not Real Ale as defined by CAMRA", "cold and fizzy" and "awful beer" as being approximately equivalent. To make the point that the cask vs keg distinction isn't as simple as people might think, and if you're going to be dogmatic about secondary fermentation and no extraneous CO2 then you might not always like the results...

Jeffrey Bell said...

Regarding motion 15, if it is going to get passed try and get in an amendment to the effect that the label attached to such "real ales in a keykeg" mention to customers the beer will be cold, flat and fuckin grim which it invariably is.

Lightly carbonated keg beer - worst of all worlds.

The Beer Nut said...

I blame the landlords who don't know how to handle it properly.

Phil said...

It's about information, really. I've no idea whether Jeffrey's right or not, because I don't know which - if any - of the 'craft' keg beers I've had have been key keg, let alone which of them could have qualified as RA.

Anonymous said...

Important to note for point 11 that when campaigning for beer in any legal sense of the word (be that duty, guest beer, etc) under EU competition law no distinction can be made in legislation between different forms of dispense.

Colin Hill said...

While I think 15 is interesting a result would only affect the CAMRA die hards who are too snobby to drink anything that isn't RA. I don't think producers of key keg beer overly care that it's not classed as RA.

Colin Hill said...

While I think 15 is interesting a result would only affect the CAMRA die hards who are too snobby to drink anything that isn't RA. I don't think producers of key keg beer overly care that it's not classed as RA.

Cooking Lager said...

Get someone to video it and put it on youtube!

John Clarke said...

Colin Hill misses the point I think - the passage of this motion will open up CAMRA beer festivals to key keg. And of course the good news is that motions 5 and 15 were passed while 11 and 12 were defeated.

Phil said...

15 passed? Interesting times ahead!

Phil said...

PS I hope they made sure to defeat motion 15a - the one in very small print that says

CONFERENCE CONSIDERS that this is all very clever and you've had your fun, but INSTRUCTS the National Executive to kick this one into the long grass and quietly forget about it, on the grounds that
a) our members have got much more important things on their minds
b) we don't want to start yet another flamewar on the letters page of What's Brewing, and
c) I mean, you don't actually drink that stuff, do you - that 'craft keg'? Dear oh dear.
CONFERENCE FURTHER INSTRUCTS the National Executive to get Protzie to waffle on about definitions for a bit and then say that there are much more important things in life - that ought to keep 'em quiet for a bit.

Rob Nicholson said...

A very positive weekend with the mood for change and less dogma.