So in my most recent post about all things beer related I ended with a cheap pop at the expense of the Campaign for Real Ale or CAMRA as it is known.
Only I didn’t.
Not of the organisation as a whole just a minority of it’s members. A minority that is also shrinking (mainly due to death rather than a change of heart and mind) but sadly for CAMRA this minority is still the image that most other beers drinkers* have of them
This isn’t an apology for that friendly jab at them, what this piece is inspired by is that within the hour of me fending off questions from CAMRA members on twitter (and via DM), I was back defending them too.
This tweet appeared on my time-line
A few things I take umbrage with (1) that like someone in need of quick gratification, rather than confront the person who has caused the “offence” they run off to the nearest tabloid for maximum exposure.** (2) that the photo of the leaflet seems to purposely focus on the female drawing rather than include all the patronising drawings of the “other types of drinker.” (3) the distinct lack of research in finding out about the leaflet, which coincides with point (1). (4) the need for the threat of violence kind of undermines the whole message much like that prat running Pumpclip Parade
The leaflet is about 5 years old, in it are some cartoon drawings meant to personify certain styles of drink and what type of person might prefer which style; Light Ale, Bitter, Mild, Stout, Porter. It is face-palming stuff.
In January the Manchester Beer & Cider Festival will open in it’s new venue of G-Mex (or Manchester Central) and no doubt there will be vendors selling all manner of
tat stuff. This will include clothing with “amusing” (generally beer related) phrases on them.
In 2014 when the festival was first held (in the Velodrome, a replacement for the Winter Ales festival that moved to Derby) some t-shirts were spotted like this…
…and of similar ilk. Childish, sea-side stuff, but not the best thing to be selling when you’re trying to make your festival feel inclusive. The problem was reported to the organisers and the complaints were acted upon. Roll on 2015 and the same thing was on sale; the sneaky vendor had set-up his stall for inspection and then promptly put out these t-shirts when no one official was about.
Not CAMRA endorsed but nonetheless it is at a festival they are hosting and this only perpetuates the perception that the organisation is filled only with sexist old men.
**Addendum – as noted in the comments below, the offending t-shirts/their sellers will not be at the 2016 event – uptodate evolution in action**
It should be noted that key-kegs are now “approved” by CAMRA as being legitimate forms of dispense for “real ale” and they will be making their début at the above beer festival and yes, there will be some members that will actively avoid drinking “gassed” beer and they won’t do it quietly either.
So with that said I will state that the above twitter account did also put out something that was bang on about CAMRA…
I’m a member of CAMRA. Or rather I’m an active member of CAMRA and whereas this stuff doesn’t offend me (nothing really does) it is a retrograde step if the campaign wishes to achieve what it can be, because otherwise at its best it will always be associated with these misguided attempts at being accessible and at its worst it will always be run by sexist old men.
CAMRA doesn’t help itself sometimes; lack of a sense of humour, not being forward thinking, improvements in health care giving sexist old men longer lifespans.
There is an evolution taking place within CAMRA. It is slow but I wouldn’t be typing this shit if millions of years hadn’t given me opposable thumbs.***
CAMRA isn’t suddenly going to be amazing over night, it needs time but it also doesn’t need it’s chequered history being brought up over and over again, this will only perpetuate a siege mentality and then nothing will change.
Thanks for reading.
*This group consists of all or some of the following: craft wankers, hipsters, Brewdog fan club performing seals who do what their masters tell them in such a punk way, non-CAMRA members & CAMRA members and anyone else who drinks beer who ever gets into the politics of this rather than just enjoying a pint – I’m looking at you reader.
**Melissa Cole is in no way a tabloid journalist; she has morals (or so I’m told).
***Fuck you, creationists.