I've had a few days to think about CAMRA Chair, Colin Valentine's rant against bloggers as publicised by Beer.Birra.Bier and Pete Brown. I presume that like me most bloggers are long standing CAMRA members, so it seems strange to criticise a section of your membership.
His comments have already been refuted by the aforementioned bloggers but one important point in favour of 'craft beer' went unsaid. CAMRA has consistently ignored the huge number of licensed premises which are resistant to cask beer. Clubs, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres, concert venues and sports events mostly never stock cask beer mainly due to the irregular patterns of trading. CAMRA has never had a coherent policy for promoting bottle conditioned beers in these places which would be an improvement for the discerning drinker. In fact CAMRA branches rarely do much campaigning at all to increase the number of premises selling decent beer preferring to concentrate their efforts on disparaging the output of the larger brewers and praising the microbreweries.
The emergence of quality keg beer should be a cue for a concerted assault on the non-cask venues to persuade some to stock high quality British beers from the likes of Freedom and Meantime or any of the large number of good keg beers from U.S., Belgium or Italy. Some could even convert to cask further down the line. The truth is that CAMRA is ageing fast. They're happy with their 70s outlook hence the proliferation of Jazz Bands, Folk Groups (yes I know it's getting cool again) and Morris Dancers at beer festivals. How can the the Twitter generation relate to CAMRA?