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Wednesday, 5 August 2009

CAMRA reaches 100,000 members

The Campaign for Real Ale - an organisation reviled by some beer bloggers for not doing what they want, as opposed to what its own members want - has reached a milestone with 100,000 members. Whatever CAMRA's faults are, and no thinking member would pretend it's perfect, it must be doing something right. I have read a number of criticisms of CAMRA, some well thought out, others just ignorant or prejudiced, but none has persuaded me to relinquish my membership. I spoke at this year's AGM in Eastbourne on the losing side of a vote, but that's democracy for you ~ accepting that not everything will go exactly as you want it to.

CAMRA research has thrown up some interesting facts:
* 50% of all adult drinkers have now tried real ale, compared to 35% in 2008
* 67% of male drinkers have now tried real ale, compared to 50% in 2008
* 30% of women drinkers have now tried real ale, compared to 16% in 2008

Amongst those who try real ale, 40% convert to drinking it afterwards, and 64% tried a beer brewed in their local area. This explains why the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has reported a 7% volume growth for local brewers in each of the last two years. There are now over 670 brewers in Britain, more than at any time since the Second World War.

I don't think our favourite drink is dying just yet, despite the best efforts of the Chancellor, PubCos and supermarkets. In the meanwhile, well done CAMRA!

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