Apart from drinking tea, there really is nothing more quintessentially British than enjoying a pint at your local pub, something which the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) works to support and promote. They describe themselves as a campaign of two halves – firstly the serious campaigning which fights for the rights of pub goers and beer drinkers, and secondly the social side that encourages members to enjoy real ale and pubs.
There are many reasons why you should join CAMRA, and with a membership only costing £24 per year, there really is no excuse not to sign up.
1. Campaign against beer tax hikes
One of CAMRA’s key campaigns is to stop beer tax killing the pub culture that Britain is famous for. The main aim is to ensure a long-term freeze in beer duty.
Thanks to the support and tireless campaigning by CAMRA members, the 2015 Budget saw the Government cut beer duty for a third year in a row and cut cider tax by 2%. According to the Centre for Economic and Business Research, 26,000 additional jobs would not have been created if the Beer Duty Escalator had remained in place.
2. Ensure political support for pubs
CAMRA has secured support from over 270 MPs for their call on the government to introduce more pub and brewery friendly policies, such as granting planning permission for new pubs.
3. Protect the future of our pubs
CAMRA argue that pubs are an important part of British culture, thus deserving of protection. They even commissioned a report from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, that investigates the role of pubs at the heart of the community. The report found that ‘The pub’ offers an enriching environment where we have the opportunity to meet a wide mix of people from all walks of life than we might otherwise be able to do. The report argues that directly and indirectly (by allowing us to meet face-to-face), modest alcohol consumption also enables us to build friendships and create a sense of community. Since there is considerable evidence that social network size and quality has dramatic effects on health, wellbeing, happiness and even survival, pubs are clearly an essential part of everyday life in Britain.
4. Organise ‘Community Pubs Month’ across Britain
This is a great campaign organised by CAMRA to motivate pub regulars and newbies alike to support their local watering hole, with the aim of raising the profile and importance of pubs in the community as well as encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to visit pubs more regularly.
5. Produce the ‘Good Beer Guide’
The ‘Good Beer Guide’ is a fantastically informative guide packed with 4,500 of the best real ale pubs in the UK, as well as information about every real ale brewery currently operating, and their key beers. Not only is this the perfect read for pub-goers everywhere, but by buying it directly from CAMRA, your money will be invested back into campaigning for real ale, community pubs and drinkers’ rights.
To read about the 17 beers we think you must try when in London, click here.
6. Free entry to beer festivals across the country
Members can also enjoy free or discounted admission to the 160 + beer festival that CAMRA organise, including the Great British Beer Festival and the National Winter Ales Festival.
7. CAMRA Pub Discount Scheme
CAMRA members can receive discounts, ranging from 20p off a pint to a 10% discount across selected products, using their membership card. This great deal allows you to save yourself some money, while still being able to enjoy a pint and support your local pub.
8. Branch social activities
CAMRA is organised into 200 branches that cover the UK and each branch runs a variety of social events throughout the year. Before heading along to one of the many tasting sessions, you might want some tips on how to taste beer like you know what you’re talking about. And, if you just can’t get enough beer in your life, click here for everything you need to know about beer pairing.
9. Free quarterly magazine
Members of CAMRA receive a free quarterly copy of the magazine ‘BEER’, which is packed with a variety of interesting features about pubs, beers and breweries. Read the magazine and still looking for more? Take a look at our article about unexpected ways to cook with beer, or perhaps teach yourself to open a beer bottle with a piece of paper.
10. 20% off brewery excursions
In partnership with Red Letter Days, CAMRA members can exclusively enjoy 20% off brewery excursions and beer tasting experiences. This is the perfect gift for any beer aficionado you know, and with Father’s Day fast approaching, this is definitely a deal you should be taking advantage of. If that’s not enough, check out these 11 Father’s Day gifts every food-loving Dad needs.