Campaigning for Pubs and Real Ale
Promoting Real Ale and Protecting Pubs
The main regular campaigning activities of the branch are publicising the merits of real ale and protecting traditional cask ale pubs that are increasingly under threat. Lobbying of local and national government is an important aspect of this work and members are encouraged to contact their MP regarding beer or pub related issues, typically using email templates generated by CAMRA HQ.
Locally the branch plays an active role in responding to planning applications that threaten specific pubs and supporting the nomination of pubs as Assets of Community Value ACV or for local listing of pubs with particular historic or architectural merit. There are already several pubs in the branch area that have been granted ACV status and we are always seeking to identify further suitable pubs in the branch area for listing.
CAMRA also operates a national online pub database whatpub.com, publishes the annual Good Beer Guide and runs the national Pub of the Year competition, all of which help to bring the Campaign to a wider audience. As a branch we play a key role in all three of these activities as well as running our own twice yearly Pub of the Season competition to recognise up and coming pubs in our area. We also encourage pubs to support local breweries through the LocAle scheme.
Whatpub.com is CAMRA’s national online pub database. providing details of opening times, location, facilities and for real ale pubs the beers that are typically available. Whatpub.com currently includes over 96% of real ale pubs across the UK including all those in our branch area. The mobile version of the whatpub.com site includes the facility to identify the nearest pubs to your current location which is particularly useful when travelling. You can also use whatpub.com to submit beer quality scores to help us shortlist pubs for the Good Beer Guide - visit our Beer Quality Scoring and the Good Beer Guide page to learn more.
The Good Beer Guide (GBG)
The annual CAMRA GBG is now in its 48th edition and is available both in book format and as a subscription based mobile app. Pubs are selected for the guide using a two-stage process, with initial shortlisting based on beer scores submitted by members using whatpub.com or the GBG mobile app. Each shortlisted pub is then surveyed by a branch member and voting undertaken to decide which pubs go into the GBG. The branch is allocated a specific number of GBG entries under a national quota system, currently 6 in the Royal Borough of Kingston and 13 in the Surrey part of the branch. The shortlisted pubs typically comprise double this amount.
Entries are ratified at a special GBG selection meeting which usually takes place towards the end of February. All branch members are entitled to participate in the voting process, either by applying for a postal or email vote or attending the selection meeting. As with the Branch AGM, membership cards should be brought to this meeting.
Pub of the Year
The GBG selection process also allows members to nominate a single pub in each of the Kingston and Surrey areas of the branch as their preference for Pub of the Year. The three highest scoring pubs in each area are then judged by volunteers against the national CAMRA Pub of the Year criteria to find a winner in each county, which then goes forward to a regional competition. The process culminates in the announcement of the national Pub of the Year each autumn.
A more detailed description of the process is available on our Pub of The Year page, as well as details of our current and previous winners. Further information on CAMRA’s national Pub of the Year award can be found here.
Pub of the Season
In addition to the Pub of the Year award the branch also makes a twice yearly (summer and winter) Pub of the Season award for a pub that is considered to have shown the most improvement over the last 6 months. This could be anything from increasing or improving the beer range, supporting the Locale Scheme, running beer festivals, organising brewery trips, providing a community function or that the pub is seen to be supporting CAMRA and its aims by actively promoting Real Ale.
Branch members are invited to submit nominations for Pub of the Season each April and October and a vote is then taken at the next Branch Meeting. Details of current and previous Pubs of the Season can be found on our Pub of The Season page
Supporting Local Breweries
CAMRA is keen to support all local real ale breweries and the branch nominates a Brewery Liaison Officer (BLO) for each brewery in the branch area. The BLOs provide a conduit for breweries to notify branch members of developments such as new beers or outlets. We are aware of five operational breweries in our branch area at present. Periodically we arrange visits to local breweries either within or near to the branch area, note however that these are often of limited capacity and advance booking may be required.
CAMRA’s Locale scheme promotes pubs stocking locally brewed real ale, reflecting growing consumer demand for quality local produce and an increased awareness of 'green' issues. In our branch we define ‘local’ as being within 30 miles by road, so it includes all Surrey breweries, most in Greater London and some in North Sussex, West Kent and East Berkshire.
If you know of any pubs that always have at least one beer from a local brewery served in good condition then please let us know. Check out our currnet list of Locale accredited pubs in the branch area.