The group is consulting its nearly 180,000 members to ask them who and what it should represent in the future – whether it should continue to focus on real ale.
The consultation is part of the Revitalisation Project – a wholesale review of CAMRA lead by one of the organisation’s four founders, Michael Hardman.
“This could mark a fundamental turning point for the Campaign for Real Ale,” said Hardman, who is the chairman of the project.
‘May no longer continue’
“So fundamental, it may no longer continue as the Campaign for Real Ale and instead become a campaign for pubs, or a campaign for all drinkers.
“It’s not up to us though. It’s up to our members to tell us what they want the Campaign to do in the future.”
CAMRA members will be invited to share their views about the future of the organisation by completing surveys and attending about 50 consultation meetings across the UK this summer.
They will be asked whether CAMRA should move away from promoting and protecting traditional real ale and become more inclusive? Or, should it shed subsidiary issues, which have become attached to the organisation over the years – such as pubs heritage, cider and foreign beer – in order to narrow its focus exclusively on cask-conditioned beer?
CAMRA said: “The rise of craft beer and a resurgence of interest in beer in recent years, plus renewed threats to pubs, has challenged CAMRA to review if it is best positioned to represent its members in the future.”
Options included becoming a consumer organisation for all beer drinkers, all pub goers regardless of what they drink, or even all alcohol drinkers, regardless of where they drink it.
‘Sometimes been criticised’
Hardman admitted: “CAMRA has sometimes been criticised for failing to move with the times, being old-fashioned and reactionary, and failing to embrace developments in the pub and beer industry such as craft beer.
This is the chance for our members to tell us who we should represent in the future and what we should be campaigning for.”
Key questions for the organisation were: Who do we represent now, and who should we represent in the future to help secure the best outcome for the brewing and pub industry? Also: how best can the group drive the beer market back into growth and to help create a thriving pub sector? Do we continue with our narrow focus, or should we become more inclusive?
Hardman concluded: “When we founded the Campaign the most important thing was choice and combatting poor quality beer. Now our members need to tell us what is important to them. We need to hear from as many CAMRA members as possible to tell us what they think the organisation should look like in the future.”
Key questions for CAMRA members
- Who do we represent now?
- Who should we represent in the future to help secure the best outcome for the brewing and pub industry?
- How best can the group drive the beer market back into growth and to help create a thriving pub sector?
- Do we continue with our narrow focus, or should we become more inclusive?