I received my new CAMRA membership card today complete with the Wetherspoons vouchers that will no doubt rot away in a drawer for the next year. There was a letter from CAMRA thanking me for my support etc. but one paragraph caught my eye and I needed to read it again because I thought I must have mis-read it. I quote:
'We understand that not all members enjoy real ale (my capitals) but love real cider. We are continuing to work with JD Wetherspoon on this matter however all of their locations sell real cider. This could lead to confusion with Managers/Staff offering discounts on ciders such as Strongbow, Magners or some Westons products that do not fit with CAMRA's definition of real cider. We can only advise that in the interim you speak to the manager at your local JD Wetherspoon.'
I was astounded to read this. I thought that CAMRA existed to promote and protect real ale but I'm obviously wrong. My first thought was that the cider drinkers don't appreciate the voucher scheme then tough, they are in the wrong consumer group. However, on reflection what is more ridiculous that CAMRA happily accommodates members who don't like real ale, but when those who do suggest that CAMRA recognises craft beers which are a lot more similar to cask beer than any cider they are cast as traitors.