Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Snowball keeps rolling

Wrong kind of Snowball
wrote in May this year about the CAMRA Liverpool Branch's Snowball initiative to bring new people to real ale by organising events where female CAMRA members would bring a woman friend to try out real ale. Snowball received the first national CAMRA Membership Initiative Award in 2012. I also wrote that the current branch committee had decided to discontinue Snowball, regarding it as no more than a women's drinking club.

Undaunted, the team behind Snowball has decided to carry on regardless. On Monday 14 November, an event took place at the Pen Factory on Hope Street, Liverpool. Paddy Byrne and his staff opened the pub specially for the occasion: they don't usually open on Monday. As well as encouraging people to sample the good range of real ales on offer, the evening also featured a talk by Geraldine Roberts-Stone. Her talk, titled 'No Woman’s Land', covered the role of World War II and pubs in relation to the advancement of women’s rights in that era, partly through the story of a woman poet; this was followed by a lively discussion on women's experiences of pubs in Liverpool. More than forty women attended, including 12 who were new to Snowball and some of them new to beer.

Drinkers club or campaigning tool? There are more than 125 women on the Snowball mailing list, with attendances of more than forty for events. More pertinently, close to 30 women have chosen to join CAMRA as a result of involvement with Snowball, while others have taken to real ale without joining.

I'm pleased that the Snowball women have decided to carry on with something that they consider to be much more than merely a female drinking club. I know them all and can vouch for their genuine commitment to this project. May the Snowball continue to roll and gather more momentum.

My only regret is that I wasn't able to attend this particular event (not being of the qualifying gender) as it sounded rather interesting.


  1. And what exactly (in these pejorative and judgemental times) would be wrong with a women's drinking club?

    1. Exactly. As I wrote in May: "Well, knock me down with a feather: who'd have guessed that a CAMRA event might involve drinking?"

  2. If there's still free grog on offer I'll happily wear a dress for the evening, though I'm not shaving.


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