Friday, 12 March 2010

Second CAMRA Facepalm in 24 hrs

Today I became aware, courtesy of CAMRA apparatchik @tonyjerome on Twitter, that CAMRA has created a pub discount scheme.

This isn't a scheme whereby a pub can gain a discount on something and thereby reduce risk of closure; no, it's a scheme whereby CAMRA members can get discounts on beer.

Now, let's get this straight: the pub trade is up against the wall, 39 or 52 or something are closing every week, CAMRA creates a scheme that eats into already-slim profit margins.

It's astonishingly dumb. It will extra competition between the pubs that CAMRA members already favour. The ones giving the discount will attract more CAMRA customers; the real ale pubs not offering discounts will lose trade. 

To create this extra price pressure is a disservice and insult to a trade that is already struggling.

Coming from an organisation that appoints itself as a guardian of pubs this scheme is a slap in the face for the very business sector it claims to support.

Another consequence will be that perfectly good pubs will find themselves edged out of the Good Beer Guide in favour of those giving discounts.

Who gains? A hardcore of tight-as-a-gnat's-chuff CAMRA loudmouths. 

Any CAMRA member with any self-respect should make a point of supporting pubs by not asking for, or declining a discount under this scheme. 

You couldn't make it up!





Facepalm Moment

Perhaps I'm mellowing in my advancing years, I'm not wound up by CAMRA activities quite so much as I used to be. Perhaps CAMRA is getting better.

Now and again though, something comes along that creates that special facepalm feeling that only CAMRA can provide.

Last night I visited the Prince of Wales at Foxfield, South Cumbria's premier hardcore CAMRA hangout. In there I picked up the latest edition of the local branch's newsletter, "Furness Inn-Quirer" (geddit?).

An article on the Lancaster Brewery caught my eye. It was a familiar story – branch members hop on a train to visit a brewery and gawp gormlessly, gasping for free pints while the kindly brewer talks them through mash tuns and FVs.

The author provides a quick description of Lancaster's four key beers. One is described thusly:

"...and not for the faint hearted, is Lancaster Red, which at 4.9% is a premium strength, ruby red beer with a spicy, malty aroma and a smooth taste."

Yes you did read that correctly – 4.9%, not for the faint hearted.

Beggars belief, doesn't it?