Posted by: The Prince of Whales | January 16, 2010

Help Camra help Pubs

The Campaign for Real Ales now has over 100,000 members and has played a major role is helping cask beer get to where it is today – around 600 microbreweries (more than at anytime since before WWII) producing over 2500 different ales.

I have been a member of CAMRA on and off for almost twenty years, but more off than on I must admit. I resigned my membership a couple of years ago as the organisation refused to do anything to tackle the biggest problem facing lovers of real ale – the abuse of the beer tie by large pub companies. For those of you unfamiliar with the British pub trade, Pubcos own about half of the UK’s 55,000 pubs. The biggest of these don’t brew any beer, or even deliver any beer, but own the freehold of the pubs. Their leasehold landlords (like me) are contractually forced to buy beer from them at sometimes as much as a 50% premium. As a result, bar prices are high and making a living very tough for tied pubs on a lease.

Help Camra save your local

A few months ago I joined again as 2009 saw CAMRA shift its position and attack the pubcos. Not only did CAMRA join a new organisation (The IPC: Independent Pub Confederation) to present a united front to government and against pubcos, but they lodged a complaint to the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) about the abuse of the beer tie. As an organisation with so many members, CAMRA forced the OFT to investigate the beer tie and report within 3 months. The OFT did this, but did not take the time to understand the issues, bodged the affair and came back with the wrong answer – the Pubcos were off the hook.

Or so they thought.

CAMRA have now lodged an appeal and hope to force a Competition Inquiry into the Beer Tie.

If we can stop pubcos abusing the tie, there will be more choice of beer, more local sourcing of beer, lower prices in pubs and a descent wage for landlords.

CAMRA needs help to pay its legal team to take this case to appeal. You can find out more about these issues and donate to the cost of the case by visiting

Thank you.


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