CAMRA attacked in consumer poll
16 August 2001
Liverpool brewer’s research concludes real ale group is out-of-touch
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has again been attacked for being out of touch with today’s beer drinkers.
New research by Liverpool brewer Cains found that confusion over the terminology used by CAMRA to describe real ale means drinkers are becoming alienated.
The report comes just two weeks after CAMRA was widely criticised for its decision to ban two Greene King ales from the Great British Beer Festival and has fuelled claims that CAMRA is no longer representative of ordinary drinkers.
Cains conducted its research in and around Liverpool to identify the strengths and weaknesses of its brands.
It discovered that there was “widespread co nfusion” about real ale. Many drinkers thought it was the “obscure stuff drunk at beer festivals”.
But the most damning part of the research came in responses that mentioned CAMRA.
Many of the respondents referred to CAMRA in a negative way, claiming they would not drink real ale because it “is the stuff drunk by CAMRA members”.
In fact, Cains concluded that “rather than making real ale widely appealing, CAMRA may now be helping to make it exclusive”.
This criticism is ill-timed for the consumer group, which is already under fire from Greene King supporters for banning Old Speckled Hen and Ruddles County from this yearís Great British Beer Festival (GBBF).
But CAMRA has defended itself strongly against the latest criticisms.
Spokesman Tony Jerome said the new NaturALE pha se of its Ask if it’s Cask campaign, which features nude models, had gone a long way towards changing people’s perceptions of real ale.
“The campaign has used stylish images, including young male and female models to emphasise the natural aspects of real ale,” he said.
He added that CAMRA was now concentrating its marketing strategies on appealing to all drinkers and had employed a membership officer to target different age groups.
Mr Jerome also challenged brewers, such as Cains, to get behind the CAMRA campaign.
“We are targeting female drinkers who are usually ignored by brewers’ laddish marketing strategies,” he said.
“The Ask if it’s Cask campaign is challenging the bigger brewers to put some of their large marketing budgets behind real ale to target the youngsters.”