Chris Stairmand’s full husting statement. CAMRA members have a few more days to vote online for the National Executive elections.
I’m a successful publican of a multiple award-winning GBG pub. I truly believe the pub is the cornerstone of a community, and that well produced and well kept real ale can highlight the best in British brewing.
I have extensive experience in the pub trade, for over six years I have owned and ran a freehouse, after being a pubco manager and then tenant for over three years. I have seen the beer trade morph over the last ten years, to levels I never thought we’d see. We have seen a boom in new breweries, new beer styles, and a lot of new drinkers. We have seen the rise of craft keg dispense and craft cans. We have seen bottle shops and brewery taps, beers being matched to food, a huge increase in the awareness of quality liquid and knowledge in drinkers. We are seeing choice!
All this can be traced back to four guys in a pub in 1971, wanting to protect the thing they loved the most – having a pint of quality ale in a pub. Now, with legions of volunteers extolling the virtues of real ale, ciders and perries, running successful beer festivals, and locally campaigning to save pubs; CAMRA is a success. But over the last few years CAMRA has become bogged down in definitions and struggles to be relevant to more discerning or younger drinkers. They see it that the battle is won, that real ale is here for good, that CAMRA isn’t needed anymore.
But I say CAMRA can be relevant! CAMRA has potential to be as effective as it was twenty years ago. CAMRA is as needed today as it was in 1971.
With the Revitalisation Project, CAMRA can refocus on the threats to the trade now: the threats to pubs, both from within and outside of the on-trade; the changing demographics of pub users; the continued risk to community pubs from developers and pubcos; the underpricing of quality produce driving down customer expectations of price and damaging the very breweries which produce quality real ales, ciders, and perries.
Representing the consumer, it should be working with the trade to help support it’s growth and drive it forward. It can work closer with pubs to help maintain qualities and trade. CAMRA is in a fantastic position to help drinkers learn more about the quality of well-produced and kept beer; about condition, ingredients, and costs. It can continue lobbying and working with Government to help protect drinkers, pubs, and brewers. It can be relevant to all pub-goers, because without customers there are no pubs. Without pubs, there is no real ale.
I’m a dad of two young children. I like to take photographs. I like to ride a bike occasionally, or climb a mountain. I like a pint and a game of darts or pool. I like to be sociable. I originally joined CAMRA to try to do a bit more.
I stood as Branch Chair when my local branch was at risk of closure as I felt that the local branch have done, and continue to do, so much for local pubs and beer. I took over the bar management for the local beer festival to help bring it forward and to help keep it successfully raising thousands for charity. I stood down as Branch Chair and left CAMRA last year as I became disillusioned with the national campaign direction and lack of relevance to the ever-changing market.
I have rejoined as I know that CAMRA is hugely important, and that with the Revitalisation Project it can be relevant for today’s drinkers. I rejoined as I want to help it evolve into the Campaign is should be. I am standing for the National Executive as a passionate CAMRA member and supporter of change. I am standing to work with the National Executive to help make CAMRA more relevant for the future.
I’m standing for the National Executive as a lover of pubs and a good beer.