Friday 30 January 2009

Good Beer Guide Selection Meeting

Ours is tomorrow. Due to the long lead in times, we will be discussing GBG 2010 entries. I am hoping that it will be a fruitful and democratic meeting, where we will pick the best pubs for our branch and ultimately for those who purchase the product.

A lot of guff is talked about how cabals of CAMRA insiders decide in advance what is what and who will be in the guide. In my branch, despite being Chairman, I have no more idea than the next man and will argue for the pubs I support with passion, as well as listening carefully to the arguments of others. The list we will choose from has been compiled by asking every member we have what they think. The system isn't perfect, but I have no doubt, in other CAMRA branches, my counterparts will be trying hard to be fair and democratic too. Then begins the onerous job of surveying the pubs to ensure they are fit for selection and the complicated process of getting the entries to CAMRA centrally.

The work of CAMRA branches behind the scenes is never ending. It is a labour of love for most of us, so when you pick up your copy of the Good Beer Guide and agree or disagree with our selection, remember we are (mostly) just doing our best.

I am told unofficially that CAMRA membership is expected to break the 100,000 barrier early next year.


Alistair Reece said...

This is probably a stupid question, but what are your personal criteria for a Good Beer Guide pub?

Tandleman said...

It isn't really. You start and end with beer quality. In the case of equality, you'd then take into account things like the pub itself and all the other factors such as a committed landlord, keen clientèle, ease of getting there etc. Once you have agreed that the beer is consistently GBG quality you start to add in the things that make the pub a place that people would want to go to having been assured that the beer is excellent.

That's when it gets a little interesting.

The Woolpack Inn said...

It's a tricky job, that's for sure. Whatever you do you will never get it perfect to everyone’s satisfaction.

I do question how relevant the ease of getting to a pub is to it's quality. But then I'm biased, mine is very difficult to get to.

We've been surveyed today, before the selection meeting – interesting, but that’s the way the branch does it. A preliminary selection, followed by survey, followed by full argume…, I mean selection meeting. January is not a good time to be surveyed for us. The beer selection is small as we’re quiet.

The message is clear to me, if you want the entries to be right, go to the meeting. If you are not a member of CAMRA, join, and then go to the meeting. You can’t complain if you don’t join in.

Sat In A Pub said...


I don't think ease of getting there would seriously be used as a criteria. I've never come across it anyway, so I don't think you have anything to fear.

Anonymous said...

Do you have to have a finite ammount of pubs in an area? If say A village had five excellent pubs could they all get in. Do the publicans where you visit know you have a part say, because this would effect the way they treat you that would influence you even if you think it wouldnt. Im sure we have all been to towns or villages from the guide and gone into a pub from the guide and found the other local pubs sometimes better, and we think "must be matey with the camra crew"

Tandleman said...

We have a finite number of pubs in the branch allocation. We then split them according to total pub numbers into our three Metroploitan Borough areas. Other than that no.

Any CAMRA member in our branch area has a part say and how people are treated will always have an effect if all other things are equal. I repeatedly emphasised at our meeting yesterday that beer quality came first. So in your theoretical example, the answer is yes.

At the end of the day though, we are all human and have our own way of looking at things. We can't choose GBG pubs by some computer programme but most people try and be objective.