The Sheffield CAMRA younger members social group is making a comeback very soon thanks to our new Young members contacts on the committee, Jack Richardson and Mark Coxon, both students at the University of Sheffield. You will be reading more from these guys in the new year, however for now, Heather Peel of Manchester explains why and how CAMRA should make an effort in the recruitment and activation of younger members.
“The branding on particular beers has a huge impact on who drinks it; I see this reflected in my peers’ choice of ale. My local brewery Robinsons based in Stockport has just produced bestselling ale Trooper endorsed by Iron Maiden, one of my personal favourites. Elbow also brought out a brew Build a Rocket Boys to appeal to the younger market. Real ale has increasingly become more fashionable with the help of some clever marketing and an increasing interest in drinking something often cheaper and more varied than other bigger brand alternatives. This switch in habits is evident all over Manchester, particularly in the Northern Quarter, where the age of drinkers has noticeably decreased to people under 30. The question is how do we recruit the new emerging group of youngsters?
There has never been a better time to increase young members within CAMRA. The target audience is already interested in real ale and in turn supporting their local pubs. In order to both engage and maintain members, recruitment needs to be strategically co-ordinated. Having attended a vast array of local beer festivals, recruitment needs to be targeted at the younger based festivals, for example at Didsbury where more students and young professionals reside and also at Chorlton, with a similar demographic. Potential members need to be educated about the importance of pubs and their reduction in binge drinking. It would be beneficial to improve the discounts into beer festivals to increase membership. Alongside this, bringing a non-member for free admission to the festival can help to create further interest.
Once more young members have been recruited the dynamics of the CAMRA meetings can gradually progress, with more meetings held at pubs with live music or a comedy venue. The use of twitter and facebook should also be increased to help young members become more active and to spread the hard work of CAMRA. Reminding people of celebrity involvement may help recruit more young members, for example Madonna’s favourite drink was once cited as Landlords. Maybe certain celebrities can be made honorary CAMRA members to develop the brand.
Prior to becoming a young member of CAMRA, I too wondered, why did I need to? Not only is it worth the fee for the Wetherspoons vouchers but more importantly we need to sustain the amazing work that CAMRA has already done and help to maintain pubs and develop the brand. Thus ensuring that pubs can thrive and provide live music, comedy nights and band themed pints created just for people like you.”