Sunday, 9 May 2010

But I thought you were on our side

It seems to be “have a go at CAMRA weekend”, but I couldn’t pass up on this article from The Publican in which beer writer Pete Brown criticises the organisation’s naïve and muddle-headed policy of opposing alcohol advertising of “international brands”. Now Pete by his own admission is a bit of a Socialist, so can’t be accused of just being a lackey of the evil multi-national capitalists. He writes:

But just when you think CAMRA has successfully reinvented itself, it says or does something that embarrasses you so much it reminds you of your senile granny’s racist outburst at your cousin’s wedding...

... And if by some bizarre chance such a partial ban came into being, there would be immediate pressure from the neo-Pros to extend it from international brands to national brands, from national to regional, to a total blanket ban. Those who hate alcohol and alcohol advertising do not discriminate by size of brewer — in their eyes, a pint of Crouch Vale Brewers’ Gold is no less ‘harmful’ than a pint of Foster’s.

CAMRA’s support for such a policy is an easy victory for the neo-Prohibitionists and an outright betrayal of the drinkers CAMRA claims to represent. It’s about time this ‘drinker’s champion’ started fighting back against the constant slurs against brewers and beer drinkers, instead of agreeing with those who attack us.
Absolutely - yet again CAMRA blunders into the “divide and rule” trap set by the anti-drink lobby.


  1. Assuming that there is in fact no such thing as "Crouch Vale Brewers' Gold" it sounds like it would be more harmful than Foster's if it was real.

  2. Eh? Crouch Vale Brewer's Gold is certainly listed in the GBG brewery section and at 4.0% ABV it is probably about equally harmful as Fosters'.

  3. Brewers' Gold won CBoB in 2005 and 2006...

  4. This is nothing new, it's a long standing policy. And Pete Brown did use to make a living advertising 'international brands'.

  5. If a conservative government had
    been destroying the working class
    pubs,Camra and the "trade"journals
    would probably have organised well
    funded street riots and constant
    tirades against "Thatcherite"policies.

    Two timing ,back stabbers, not
    forgetting the yellow livered ,
    cringing publicans themselves,
    busily waiting for other pubs to close and scavange the left over

    Last Chance Saloon(Leffe only)

  6. Ed, the policy is nothing new, but Pete Brown's typically trenchant attack on it is.

    And it's always been (to be charitable) naïve and muddle-headed.

  7. There is no logic in banning only the advertising of a product available internationally, and not regionally or nationally. You are saying that a brewer will be punished for success. Many so called craft products are internationally available. Many UK brewers of pong flog there grog in other countries. Otherwise how would US beer bloggers be necking UK beers and vice versa?

    As daft as CAMRA policy is, they are in there rights to have a daft policy. They have no obligation to be simply "pro beer". They represent there members, and no one else. They can have as many policies as they wish, daft or otherwise. It is up to government to realise that the majority of drinkers and voters are NOT CAMRA members.

  8. Crouch Vale is real? well there you go.

    Cookie, CAMRA has indeed got the right to have daft policies. I also have the right to point out that they are daft, especially as I am a member.

    Incidentally, how do I join this lout appreciation club thing? I want to join so that I can get the inclusion of pong as a valid style of lout.

  9. I must admit I didn't know CAMRA had such a policy. I must try and find out why and how we came by it.

  10. "It seems to be “have a go at CAMRA weekend”, but I couldn’t pass up on this article.."

    Well, you could if you wanted to. Instead you chose to follow the herd. However now that it's clear that in the great scheme of things bugger all people read these blogs I no longer care who says what about CAMRA in these forums (and have today deleted most of my links to them).

    Good job you've still got your OT column - at least that way you get a decent audience:-)

    By the way - copy to me by 21 May for the next column please.

  11. Was that the sound of a bat being dragged home, John?

  12. Ed - I did indeed used to make my living advertising big international lager brands. That means I know how advertising - and advertising regulation - works.

    I don't make my living that way any more, and don't think it has any bearing on the issue other than what I've stated.

    Cookie - the problem with CAMRA having daft policies is that while, when it suits them, they claim to be just a group of real ale fans (if you don't agree with us, you don't have to join us), they have a very real degree of lobbying power, and if you look at the aims on their website they claim to be the consumer champion of beer drinkers - not ale drinkers, beer drinkers. They're going to business, government and regulatory bodies and claiming they speak on behalf of you and me as well as Pong fundamentalists.

  13. The following motion was passed at the 2006 Blackpool AGM:

    “Motion 11 – This Conference supports proposals which would prohibit or restrict global brewers (and other global alcohol producers) from advertising their products, but it is in favour of non global brewers being able to provide information about their products and to promote them.”

    So there you have it. An old policy which has never been acted on or repealed, as nobody remembers it or cares about it any more. If I can be bothered or remember, I might just put a motion forward to remove it at the next AGM.

    I think Pete is making a mountain out of a molehill. Why? I don't really know.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval. See here for details of my comment policy.