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In a local pub recently, the licensee and I were chatting about a pub-related matter when it became clear that another customer who was also in the conversation wasn't sure what CAMRA was beyond vaguely knowing it had something to do with beer. For instance, he didn't know it was a voluntary organisation of ordinary real ale drinkers that is totally independent of the pub industry, brewers and government.

So what is the Campaign for Real Ale? It was founded by four beer enthusiasts back in 1971 who were fed up with the mediocre, mass-produced keg and tank beers that passed for ale in so many British pubs on the 1960s and 1970s. CAMRA invented the term 'real ale' to describe the diminishing number of interesting, traditionally-made beers that were in real danger of being wiped out altogether by the flood of mediocre keg beers that big breweries were spending fortunes promoting. From those four founders, nowadays CAMRA represents more than 180,000 ordinary beer drinkers and pub-goers across the UK.

What does it do? CAMRA aims to promote and advocate:
  • the production, availability and consumption of quality real ale, cider and perry;
  • pubs and clubs as social centres and part of the UK’s cultural heritage;
  • the benefits of responsible social drinking.

We do this by supporting and encouraging the beer and pubs trade by running beer festivals, lobbying Government for changes to protect pubs and brewers, especially real ale producers, running numerous awards and developing a range of pub finders and guides.

CAMRA campaigns to protect real ale, cider and perry, the pubs that sell such products and the producers who make them (perry is like cider but made with pears).

CAMRA is run by local members who decide which pubs go into the Good Beer Guide, the best-selling beer and pub guide, run local beer festivals, and make nominations to protect our pub heritage with design awards and to publicise great beers by national and local good beer and pub awards, the best-known of which is the Champion Beer of Britain.

CAMRA members do get some perks including £30 of real ale vouchers valid in Wetherspoons and some other pub chains, discounts in some other pubs, plus discounts from a wide range partner businesses. Want more info? Go to – there's no obligation in just looking!

Neville Grundy
Southport and West Lancashire CAMRA