National news

CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide enlists the help of a music icon

The Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Good Beer Guide – the UK’s best-selling beer and pub guide – is celebrating its 51st edition with a striking cover and a foreword supplied by Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. The Guide, which surveys 4,500 of the best pubs across the UK, is the definitive beer drinker’s guide for those seeking the best pints in the nation’s pubs.

Dickinson’s foreword shines a spotlight on the cultural tradition of pubs within the United Kingdom, the importance of protecting the heritage, charm and welcoming nature of pubs and clubs, and not taking them for granted.

Pubs and clubs are a rite of passage for many bands and musicians starting out in the UK, and Iron Maiden themselves began their career almost 50 years ago playing in London pubs. The conviviality of these venues creates the perfect atmosphere for burgeoning music scenes, and helps to drive footfall into pubs, especially after a challenging period for them brought on by the pandemic.

The cover of The Good Beer Guide 2024 features Eddie, Iron Maiden’s mascot and icon of the band’s range of Trooper beers, brewed by Stockport brewery Robinsons. Trooper celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and has become one of the UK’s most established ales in that period.

CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said: “We’re honoured to have Bruce Dickinson pen the foreword for The Good Beer Guide 2024. As we enter our second half century of producing the Guide, there is no one better to introduce this year’s edition, and highlight what makes these institutions so worth visiting.

“The last few years have been an incredibly difficult time for the industry, and we need more support than ever before to keep our nation’s pubs open and thriving. I’d encourage everyone to use this year’s Guide to visit the very best pubs across the UK and support them for generations to come.”

The Good Beer Guide 2024 is set to be published on 28 September, with options to order the standard editions, alternative cover and hardback editions available on the CAMRA shop. To pre-order, go to

CAMRA responds to Ringwood brewery being put up for sale 

Responding to the announcement that Carlsberg Marston’s has put Ringwood Brewery and associated brands up for sale, CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said:  

“Founded in 1978, Ringwood Brewery has been a stalwart of the British brewing scene for decades, being one of the first cask ale producers in the country. I sincerely hope whoever takes up the reins continues with its long-standing, valued traditions. 

“It is encouraging that brewing of its flagship beers will still take place on the site while a new buyer is sought. It is important to note the reasons for selling is not due to a failing business, but the current owners wanting to expand other areas of its operations which is not possible at the current location.  

“CAMRA campaigns for pubs, pints and people – we never want to see the closure of any brewery as too many across the country are closing their doors. This can have a detrimental impact on local communities, including employment as well as the social benefits a tap can bring. I hope it continues to thrive under new ownership, who will honour the production of the Ringwood live beers consumers have come to love and respect. 

“Ringwood has been hugely successful over the years, moving from its original site in 1986 after outgrowing it. CAMRA will be keeping a watchful eye on the sale and will be urging whoever takes over to ensure these traditions remain at the heart of its operations. It would be a sad day for beer enthusiasts if this was not the case. 

“Ringwood’s Old Thumper was a former Supreme Champion Beer of Britain in 1988, an accolade awarded at CAMRA’s Great British Beer Festival Winter.” 

CAMRA celebrates cider education

Collaborating with esteemed writers, influencers and film makers, the award-winning Learn & Discover site hosts an abundance of articles, videos and audio material, exploring the world of pubs, beer, cider and perry.

A new beginners’ guide is freely available for CAMRA members and non-members alike:

Intro to sparkling cider – The first of a new cider series by celebrated drinks writer Rachel Hendry exploring why some ciders are still while others are sparkling. Rachel details the science and processes involved in making different styles of cider, from the importance of fermentation to the multiple methods of carbonation.

For cider and perry enthusiasts wanting to learn more about their favourite drink, there is a fantastic new documentary film available exclusively for CAMRA members*:

World of cider: Hardanger – The second instalment of CAMRA’s World of Cider video series, renown cider expert Gabe Cook, otherwise known as The Ciderologist, meets Norwegian cider producers in Hardanger. Attending the Hardanger Cider Festival, Gabe learns of the history of Norwegian cidermaking, the practicalities of producing cider in Norway and the country’s ever growing cider tourism scene. Filmed by Haritz Rodriguez, the documentary boasts of breath-taking shots of fjords and the stunning Norwegian landscape. The trailer for the film is free to view on CAMRA’s YouTube channel here.

Catch up with the first episode of Gabe’s word tour, in which he travels to Scotland here.

CAMRA supports and campaigns for cider and perry throughout the year, highlighting them in month-long celebrations throughout October and May, during which time local CAMRA branches organise cider and perry events across the country.

Alex Metcalfe, CAMRA’s Learning & Discovery Manager, said: “Working with creative filmmakers and talented writers, these new guides highlight the variation and complexity in cider, making it such a well-loved beverage in the UK and across the world. I was blown away by the high-quality production of the World of Cider video, which rivals that of a big budget TV series. As always with Learn & Discover, there is more on the horizon, I can’t wait for people to see what is in store for the platform and our growing YouTube channel.”

High street pubs could be lost for good unless Government thinks again, warns CAMRA

he Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is leveraging its 150,000-strong membership to ensure that the planning protection won for pubs in 2017 won’t be undone by the Government’s latest levelling up proposals. 

Members are writing to their MPs, letting them know that Government proposals for ‘High Street Rental Auctions’ cannot go ahead in their current format, and asking MPs to take action. CAMRA won landmark protection for pubs just five years ago, with the removal of permitted development rights that had let developers convert or demolish pubs without giving communities their say through the planning process.  

High Street Rental Auction proposals are currently under consultation with the aim of rejuvenating highstreets by letting Councils auction leases for a range of vacant property types, but these proposals miss the mark by reintroducing permitted development rights that would see pubs converted, divided up into multiple units, or gutted of fittings without the need for planning permission. 

The e-lobby campaign follows a letter sent to Levelling Up Minister Dehenna Davison MP by CAMRA National Chairman, Nik Antona, asking the Government to think again about removing pub protections with High Street Rental Auctions. 

Commenting, Nik Antona said: “Last week the Government opened the latest round for bids to the Community Ownership Fund, while at the same time, consulting on taking planning protection away from the kinds of venues that so many communities are working to save.  

“It’s vital that the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which is responsible for both the Community Ownership Fund and High Street Rental Auctions, takes a more joined-up approach to legislation surrounding the trade, and offers meaningful change that empowers communities to support, or even run, their locals. 

“I urge everyone to contact their MP and ask them to stand up for high street pubs.” 

Black Sheep Brewery sold

Black Sheep Brewery has been sold to London Investment firm Breal Capital after being place into adminstration, reports the Stray Ferret news website, however the sale has left suppliers owed £3m and unlikely to get paid. The biggest unpaid invoices include Simpsons Malt (£83.4k) and Sustain Drinks Packaging (£33.8k).

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