CAMRA opens voting on revitalisation initiative and National Executive elections

Voting on the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA)’s new leadership election and revitalisation project — which could see the organisation move its focus beyond real ale and traditional bars and pubs — has opened.

Camra shop

Hundreds of thousands of CAMRA members are expected to vote on proposed changes to the 47-year-old institution which would expand range of types of beer that it represents, including those which do not currently meet the organisation’s definition of “real ale” in a bid to “engage with all beer drinkers and with all pub-goers, irrespective of what they choose to drink, increasing its ability to campaign in the interests of a much larger constituency.”

While the organisation will continue to campaign for the preservation of the traditional British pub, CAMRA also wants to get more involved in other on-trade outlets, encouraging the sale of quality beer, cider and perry beyond the pub.

The proposals follow a root and branch review of the organisation’s purpose and objectives, which involved the consultation of all 191,000 members.

If approved, they could take the form of CAMRA festivals offering a range of quality beers, ciders and perries in all formats, increasing the information available to members about beers of all styles, opening up its national pub competitions to a wider variety of entrants, and even launching a training arm similar in structure to the Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

Voting opens this week both online and via postal votes, and will continue until Wednesday 18 April.

Members may also choose to vote in person at the organisation’s AGM in Coventry on the 21st April.

CAMRA chairman Colin Valentine said: “It’s always been important that our members have had a say throughout this review process and we’re now at the point where we’ll be giving all our members the chance to vote on the final recommendations.

“This marks an important stage in CAMRA’s long history. The beer and pub landscape has changed over the last 47 years and continues to evolve, and we’re determined to remain relevant to drinkers of all types so that we can continue to offer a compelling reason for people to join our organisation.

“We will be making sure members can access the full details of the changes we’re recommending, along with the analysis of the impacts and potential opportunities the changes will have before they cast a final vote.”

Beer Education

Speaking in our March issue of the drinks business, head of communications Tom Stainer said that education is “key to CAMRA’s future.”

“We believe that we have a role to play in educating and informing our members, the trade and the wider public about beer through our publications, communications and marketing.

“This commitment to education should be at the heart of our ethos and campaigning activity, so that we take a more proactive approach to developing knowledge and understanding about real ales, pubs and clubs.”

Currently brewers, beer sommeliers and those working in the industry can enrol in the US-based Cicerone Certification Programme, which awards diplomas to students in levels one to four, similar in style to the WSET course for wine and spirits.

The Cicerone programme was launched in the UK in 2013, but CAMA’s latest proposals could see the body forming its own national certification for aspiring beer sommeliers.

“If the recommendations are approved by our membership at our Members Weekend, Conference & AGM this April, CAMRA will explore commercial options for developing a training arm – either independently or in partnership with established operators – to offer a range of courses to improve beer education in the future.”

National Executive

Camra beer festival

The Great British Beer festival at London’s Olympia, organised by CAMRA.

Alongside the proposed changes, CAMRA also opened its National Executive elections, meaning members can choose who joins the organisation’s board of directors.

Ten candidates have put their names forward for four seats on the National Executive — a group of 12 elected volunteers who oversee CAMRA’s strategy.

This year’s candidates are:

Nik Antona – from East Staffordshire: a National Executive member re-standing for election

Lynn Atack – CAMRA volunteer from Doncaster

Greg Cloney – CAMRA volunteer from Coventry

Ash Corbett-Collins – CAMRA volunteer from Birmingham, National Coordinator of CAMRA’s Young Members’ Group

Bradley Cummings – CAMRA volunteer from Cardiff

Nicholas Hair – CAMRA volunteer from London

Ian Hill – CAMRA volunteer from Hertfordshire: a National Executive member re-standing for election

Gillian Hough – CAMRA volunteer from Derbyshire: A member of the Derby Winter Ales Festival organising team and various CAMRA national committees

Chris Stairman – CAMRA volunteer from Cheshire

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