Tiny Rebel: CAMRA Revitalisation Project is ‘too little, too late’

By James Beeson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Reform: Tiny Rebel's Bradley Cummings intends to shake up CAMRA by running for its National Executive
Reform: Tiny Rebel's Bradley Cummings intends to shake up CAMRA by running for its National Executive
Bradley Cummings, co-founder of Welsh brewery Tiny Rebel, has announced plans to run for the national executive of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) in a bid to shake up the organisation.

In a blog post on the brewery’s website, Cummings acknowledged that for many drinkers, CAMRA was in danger of appearing “outdated and increasingly irrelevant” and suggested that recent proposals to widen its remit and promote all forms of good beer were “too little too late”.

“There’s a lot of talk around CAMRA’s revitalisation project in the trade press at the moment. As fans and defenders of cask ale ourselves, you’d think we’d be excited about it too,” Cummings wrote. “Truth be told we haven’t been. Even more truth be told, over the last few weeks we’ve been doing some really deep thinking about CAMRA and our involvement with the campaign.”

Cummings goes on to say that this year will be the last time that Tiny Rebel has a bar at The Great British Beer Festival, describing the general feeling at the brewery towards CAMRA’s revitalisation project as “all talk and no action.”

Reform from the inside

“If we, winners of CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain title and passionate advocates of cask ale, can feel alienated and divorced from the national campaign that supposedly shares the same aims, then we can’t hope for a good future from the organisation,” he added.

Describing CAMRA as “the largest single-issue consumer group in the UK,” Cummings outlined his proposal to transform the organisation from the inside by running for one of 12 seats on the national executive (an elected set of representatives who govern the organisation and its direction).

“We don’t want to stand outside CAMRA and yell at it,” he said. “We don’t want to flounce outside like a stroppy teenager and hope that people get the message. We don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

“It [CAMRA] still has massive enormous potential. But that potential won’t be realised unless we can be openly and constructively critical of the organisation that we are members of."

CAMRA welcomes input

Responding to Cummings' criticism and decision to run for CAMRA’s National Executive, the organisation’s national chairman Colin Valentine said: “"We've been very aware that there are a lot of people out there who have strong opinions and ideas for the direction CAMRA should take - which was the very reason we launched Revitalisation.

"The changes proposed are reflective of the views of the majority of our members and every single member has the chance to have their say by voting on our proposed changes at our AGM - either remotely or by turning up in person.

"We're a volunteer-led organisation and encourage anyone who has something to offer and wants to get more active and play a part - whether that's at a local level, or standing for election to our National Executive."

In December 2017, Tiny Rebel made headlines after The Portman Group ruled​ that cans of its Cwtch ale were in breach of its code of conduct, and could appeal to under 18s. The Welsh brewery criticised​ the ruling, which it said cost “five months of work, nearly £30,000 in costs, and a fair bit of stress,” and claimed ignoring rulings from The Portman Group could “cripple a small business financially.”

At The Brewers Congress in November 2017, co-founder Gareth Williams launched​ an impassioned defence of cask beer, insisting the product had been devalued by new businesses selling the product too cheaply to UK pubs.

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