The Money Shot: last orders for Camra?

Image of a pint of real ale
A pint of Ackers Best, yesterday
"Pubs are closing left, right and centre, and moderate consumers are arguably being hit hard in the pocket with punitive pricing measures intended to curb problem binge drinking"
  • | by Kristian Dando

Keen-eyed prank watchers might have been given cause to choke on their lunchtime baguettes this week.

Today, of course, is April Fool’s Day, which means brands across the nation are dishing out the banter like it’s going out of fashion.

So, had one of Britain’s most treasured consumer organisations, Camra – the Campaign for Real Ale – jumped the gun when it announced that it was considering switching its remit from plugging traditional cask-conditioned ale to a broader celebration of all things beer yesterday?

The organisation, oft accused of having a refusenik attitude, revealed it’s polling its 177,000 members on whether they want a change of tack and – shock horror! – a new name.

Camra has been banging the drum for cask ale and pubs since its inception in the early 1970s, and it’s undoubtedly done some fine work.

It’s helped raise awareness of the closure of community pubs and local breweries, and some might argue it actually helped laid the groundwork for the artisanal beer movement which is sweeping the globe.

But with the rise of craft beer – itself, a rather tricky-to-define term – some have argued that the organisation had become myopic, resolutely sticking to its remit of the promotion of cask beer and not much else.

Camra, the new-school argued, was like King Cnut, trying to hold back the tide of fizzy, aggressively hopped IPAs, sour saisons and oak-aged imperial porters. It was about time it embraced change.

So, is the organisation, which has so long had to battle with accusations of trainspotter stereotypes and ingrained sexism (they don’t exactly help themselves with the last one) finally ready to embrace the 21st century?

Whatever its membership decides, the organisation certainly has a task on its hands. Pubs are closing left, right and centre, and moderate consumers are arguably being hit hard in the pocket with punitive pricing measures intended to curb problem binge drinking.

So, let’s hope it’s not time at the bar for one of Britain’s most august consumer champions just yet.

News in brief

The new £7.20 national living wage came into force.

A bit of research from Aviva found that Birmingham has the dubious honour of being the ‘cash for crash’ insurance scam capital of Britain.

Prospective buy-to-let investors have been going at it like the clappers, trying to get their paperwork in order before the 3% stamp duty surcharge kicks in.

While we’re speaking of things getting more expensive, air passenger duty, NHS dental charges, prescription charges, water bills and council tax are all getting more costly of today. 

On Covered mag this week

“Go wild in the country!” sang '80s popsters Bow Wow Wow. Obviously, the internet was merely a glimmer in Bill Gates’ eye back then, but they could well have been going on about the people who are getting eye-popping 1,000Mbps broadband in rural communities.

We chewed over funeral cover and the importance of a good send off.

Covered mag letters

Sir,

Last weekend, I enjoyed a mostly textbook bank holiday weekend.

I say ‘mostly’ textbook as my wife and I settled in to enjoy a late lunch on the veranda of my holiday home in Weston, our favourite weekly dose of financial frippery was nowhere to be found.

The whole ordeal sent my dear spouse Bernice into a most frightful funk, which I could not manage to rouse her from until Monday.

By this point the last of the weekend was quickly ebbing and flowing away and we were half way back to the Midlands.

Come on Covered mag, sort it out: your public expects better.

Frustrated Frank, Yardley

Dear Frank,

We’re sorry to hear about your disappointment at the lack of engaging content over the bank holiday weekend – alas, the team here at Covered mag HQ all needed some much needed R&R, and spent the weekend away sipping spritzes on assorted sun-soaked verandas ourselves. Well, it would be rude not to!

Normal service has new resumed. A complimentary Covered mag novelty pencil is currently winging its way to Bernice, which we hope goes some way to allaying her disappointment.

The Covered mag team  

Join us next week for another welly-wanging edition of the Money Shot. Until then, send us your letters