The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is consulting members on what the future for the campaign should be. These are komadori’s thoughts on the matter, which have been submitted to the consultation.
Real Ale should remain at the heart of what the campaign does but, as noted in ‘Shaping the future’, the distinction between good and bad ales is not as simple as it was in the 1970s. So whilst the campaign should retain its definition of Real Ale, and continue to champion Real Ale, it should also be supportive of other ales, ciders and perrys that are of high quality but do not meet the criteria for being Real Ale. (And some criteria for what is ‘high quality’ will need to be devised.)
CAMRA should be prepared to welcome the availability of good ale, cider and perry in social venues other than pubs. I noted the comment in ‘Shaping the future’ that “Coffee shop chains are beginning to diversify by selling alcohol, posing a further threat to the traditional pub.” I think CAMRA should welcome a diversification in the venues allowing people to enjoy good ale, cider an perry socially. With most pubs, even newly built ones, offering an environment of ersatz Victoriana, is it not time for the more modern establishments that offer real ale? It also offers a means by which people that have abstained from alcohol might discover the pleasures of good ale. I look forward to the first entry for a coffee shop in the ‘Good Beer Guide’.
The campaign should continue to support real cider and real perry, but I would not be against that support being in the form of helping an independent organisation take that campaign forward.
There’s no reason for the campaign to widen its aims to cover all alcohol drinkers: good quality wine is widely available without CAMRA’s support.