Saturday, 26 September 2015

CAMRA accepts 30 pieces of silver

It's Cask Ale Week, apparently. I can't say I would have noticed, except that I received a gushing e-mail from CAMRA promoting it. They point out that the 'week' runs from 24 September to 4 October, helpfully explaining that this is 10 days, although it's 11 by my reckoning.

There's a free pint promotion from Punch Taverns, although you have to have an internet enabled smartphone to access the offer. That doesn't bother me too much. The fact that CAMRA is promoting a Punch Taverns offer does.

Last month Punch agreed to sell 158 pubs to New River, a property company with a record of converting pubs to other uses. This sale included the Roscoe Head in Liverpool, one of only five pubs in every Good Beer Guide, and the only one north of Cambridge. I've written about this issue and the local campaign on 31 August, 6 September, and 13 September.

My question is: why is CAMRA promoting an offer by a pub company that is no real friend of the Campaign, whose record with pubs is scarcely exemplary and who has put a cherished local at risk? It's a punch in the face for local campaigners who are trying to prevent or limit the damage this business is causing.


  1. I do wonder about CAMRA sometimes. Talk about supping with the devil! Definitely not the wisest decision to have come out of St Albans.

  2. We get a free pint out of it though!

  3. Strange bed-fellows indeed ! Stranger even than the deal with Tesco to push RAIB in their stores. The thing that infuriates me more however is the fact that, as Nev points out, it is Punch Taverns who are offloading The Roscoe Head (among many others) to a property developer !!! Well, they can shove their free pints where the sun don`t shine !

  4. I would suggest that most people don't realise they are drinking RAIB when they pick it up in Tesco. Anything that highlights RAIB over pasteurised beers is educating the drinker and promoting CAMRA's aims. Why would you be against it?

    New River retail are in the position of not having a shed load of debt that Punch has, and have stated that they intend to keep the pubs open. Again, we'll get more by talking to them.

    Finally: How is not taking a free pint hurting Punch?!

  5. The NewRiver undertaking isn't as clear as you make out. They have said some of the pubs will be converted, but in the case of the Roscoe Head, they've told us there's no intention to convert it at this stage to a convenience store. We don't know how long 'this stage' will last (until the lease expires, perhaps), and the option remains to convert it to anything but a convenience store. Student accommodation is a distinct possibility, as will happen to the Buck I' Th' Vine, the most distinctive and least altered pub in Ormskirk.

    No one has suggested hurting Punch: my view is simply that we shouldn't accept favours from people who have behaved as they recently have: principle, not punishment.


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