Saturday, 30 June 2012


Is it me, or are there a lot of CAMRA members not moving ahead with the times?
CAMRA is a great organisation. However, certain things have made me wonder, is CAMRA  stuck in a bit of a time warp!
The recent campaign against the beer escalator is a point in question.We basically need 100,000 people to sign the e-petition, in order to force a debate in parliament.However, we seem to be struggling somewhat, as we still require 40,000 signatures.
What miffs me is that CAMRA alone has 140,000 members, and it should be a breeze to reach 100,000.So I can only assume there are lots who are loathe to move into the world of the internet, email, facebook etc.
Is this fair comment? Are there still lots who prefer the old fashioned, outdated method of communication.
I have just read a very interesting piece in this months publication of 'Whats Brewing', where Neil Harvey suggests CAMRA meetings should be scrapped and done online!
I know where he is coming from.Lots of issues can simply be discussed online.Facebook and twitter for example.
There are lots of younger members now who conduct all their communications electronically and perhaps CAMRA should be moving more in this direction. If not, they may eventually die out. Like this friendly fella did, many years ago!     


  1. "Is it me, or are there a lot of CAMRA members not moving ahead with the times."

    You need a question mark there young fella and the answer is "No".

    The petition thing is annoying, but it is far from easy in any organisation to get people to do things they obviously "should" believe in. It is quite difficult to get people to give you their electronic details sometimes too, young and older.

    Of course CAMRA Branches use electronic means and do so increasingly. My Branch uses email, newsgroups, twitter, website and mixes and matches. Most do the same. As for meetings, they are called that because you meet real people and drink actual beer with them. Done properly they are interesting and a good night out with friends.

  2. Cheers for your informative and prompt response.I do agree with you on the meetings argument 100%.However,I feel my branch needs to modernise a little.We find it difficult attracting members to our facebook page.Just 44 out of a 1000+ membership.Although, it was good to see our branch chairman joining recently.Also,we are not on twitter unfortunately.Mind you, it is good to see that many branches are now.
    We are all passionate about real ale and I am sure all arguments raised are done with the best intentions.
    Cheers again for your feedback :-)

  3. Message for Tandleman. I am now following you on twitter.:-)

  4. A lot of branches do need modernising and yes a lot of issues can and should be dealt with electronically. However, there is still room for both the old and new in CAMRA.

  5. I think you summed that up very well pal.Top notch feedback as always.Certainly would never want to do away with meetings.It's a fine and necessary event and a nice social gathering too :-)

  6. Personally, attracting new ACTIVE members is the *single* biggest issue I face as a branch chairman and is a common story around the campaign. Unless we resolve that, CAMRA will be just a big drinking club as the active membership gets older. Therefore we need to market ourselves.

    Plus CAMRA was criticised in the review saying that communication needs to improve. CAMRA is geographically spread but makes poor use of web based meetings (which doesn't help that "few active members", "too many jobs" issue).

    CAMRA doesn't have a national online pub guide despite having an army of semi-willing volunteers. The new CAMRA website is still hard to use and search doesn't find what you're looking for. Beer scoring is floundering because we don't have enough scores so where is the phone app? Branches all have to solve hosting of their website separately and to varying degrees of success.

    Meeting minutes are still typically formatted for paper. What's Brewing is still mainly paper only whereas most news publications see the future online (Beer needs to stay as paper) and for those who move digitally, they get the news elsewhere. CAMRA has a wonderful database of breweries but nobody can access it and therefore uses the excellent Quaffale. Where is the consumer focused organisation there in keeping it secret?

    And why are we all discussing CAMRA important matters in various blogs all over the place and not in CAMRA's own forums? Because they are not published and they are shunned by the people who can make the decisions (NE, HQ & central committees).

    We don't record, transcribe or broadcast our member's weekend digitally so unless you have the free time to take three days out of your life then it's nigh on impossible to find out what's going on and zero chance to engage to you can make changes.

    And whilst we're on the member's weekend, a "once a year" chance to effect CAMRA policy dooms CAMRA to glacial decision making speeds when most decisions these days need to be take in days, not years. It also makes a farse of some of the more complex policies and expecting those members who can make it to be able to make an informed decision in 20 minutes is laughable. So where is the on-going debate on the policies before and after the vote? And if we had this, then more people would maybe vote and engage in CAMRA thus helping the very start - too few active members.

    I could go on but yes, CAMRA is stuck in the time warp...

    Cheers, Rob.

  7. And PS - improving all of the above would give more time for socialising and meeting down the pub, not dry meeting after meeting.

    It has often been said "Why don't you get more involved centrally Rob?" at which point I run around screaming because "I'd have to start attending even more *&*(*&&&& meetings around the country and I have neither the time or inclination" ;-)

    Doesn't mean I don't want to get involved centrally though...

  8. Thanks for your response Rob.You made some excellent points. I feel like yourself, there are certain areas that need to be updated and modernised .It is always going to 'ruffle a few feathers'from some members.However,I am sure everyone appreciates that we have CAMRA's best interests at heart. :-)