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Canny Bevvy 243

Issue 243 of Canny Bevvy spring 2018

C A S K . K E G . B O T

C A S K . K E G . B O T T L E S Tel: (0191) 447 6543 Email: Units 10-11, Blaydon Business Centre, Cowen Road, Blaydon on Tyne. NE21 5TW Not all corporate events are boring Plus, you get to enjoy a beer on work time! Our brewing facilities offer ideal opportunities for corporate events and staff development activities. Engage staff with challenges to draft their own beer recipes, conduct a brew on our micro brewing kits, bottle the product and compare for character and quality. Our professionally supervised Brew Days allow up to six teams to produce a beer of their own design with full support for recipes and final packaging. We provide a tasting session in advance to outline how beer is judged and have a wide range of ingredients for standard and novel beer styles. Contact us today to discuss your corporate event on +44 (0) 191 303 6839 or email us at 18 Issue 243 • Spring 2018

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN With the Tyneside and Northumberland branch AGM approaching on 1st May, 2018 this annual term as chairman of the branch is also coming to an end. CAMRA nationally and locally continues to grow, nationally we are going towards 190,000 members. As a branch we saw the 2,000th member barrier overcome during last year’s Newcastle Beer and Cider festival. Although most members are based in or near Newcastle, the branch covers a diversity of areas with different degrees of population density. We cover four local authorities: Northumberland, North Tyneside, Newcastle upon Tyne and south of the water Gateshead. We also cover more parliamentary constituencies than most other branches: Newcastle North, Newcastle Central, Newcastle East, Gateshead, Blaydon, North Tyneside, Tynemouth, Wansbeck, Blyth Valley, Hexham and Berwick. We actively engage with MPs. As a branch we have to do justice to the over 500 real ale pubs in our area. Some of the best ones are in Northumberland. The Office in Morpeth was crowned North East Regional Pub of the Year in 2017 and The Curfew in Berwick was overall Northumberland Pub of the Year in 2018. With only 20% of the membership based in Northumberland our social secretary has been arranging five survey coach trips into all parts of Northumberland to survey the pubs. We even had a very popular trip to Holy Island, which we would like to repeat in 2018. In Tyneside the pub scene is evolving almost on a daily basis. The Town Mouse Ale House was crowned Tyneside Pub of the Year, less than 12 months since it opened in February 2017. Indeed the spread of the micropubs is quite amazing. We now have micropubs in places as remote as Rowlands Gill and High Spen as well Bedlington, Felton and Rothbury. And I have not even mentioned the 50 or so breweries in the branch area. Some are well-established such as Mordue, Wylam and Allendale. Others are very new such as Montagu and unfortunately some have already folded. The real ale scene is fluid and lively to say the least. While real ale is at the heart of what CAMRA is doing we cannot ignore the world around us. Constantly we hear news about the negative impact that drinking beer has on our health. And just to get things straight, CAMRA is advocating socially responsible drinking. We believe that the pleasure of a community pub - where people look out for each other - impacts beneficially on people’s health. That is why CAMRA is campaigning to tax supermarkets and pubs equally when it comes to food. Supermarkets do not pay the full VAT as pubs do. Pubs cannot afford to reduce the price of beer in the same way that a supermarket chain can. That said, we are not the campaign for cheap drinks. We give awards for Champion Beers of Britain in a variety of styles. We give out awards to great pubs and clubs. Quality is what CAMRA is about. What is the point of drinking a cheap beer that tastes like vinegar? If you want to learn more about ales come to our meetings, come to our socials, come on our coach trips. Most of all come to the Newcastle Beer and Cider Festival (of which you will be able to read more in this issue of Canny Bevvy). But I also wanted to write about the things I believe have happened in our branch since I ended up at the helm as they say. We are now the second branch in the country (after Nottingham) to have a Diversity Officer (see details under branch contacts). No, this is no laughing matter. It is not about the diversity of beers. It is about making CAMRA accessible to everyone. We care about pubs being accessible to people with mobility issues. We are concerned at the pyramid-style age structure. By that I mean a narrow stretch of young members at the bottom and a wide stretch at the top of older members. Older volunteers though have been invaluable in running the branch and CAMRA as a whole. But I see it as the duty of everyone with a skill or a position in CAMRA to ensure that this is passed on to a new generation who will continue to carry the torch (or as prefer the pint glass). The North East may not be as ethnically diverse as places like London, but I see it as a concern that we still - with few exceptions - fail to attract non-white members. We must do better, and there is the issue of ale being associated with men. Women and men have equally good tastes but we need to be more welcoming to women. As I said at the last AGM, I cannot run this branch without the support of others, often more skilled and more experienced than me. As a committee we have made changes to the way we select the Good Beer Guide entries. In the past it was a random selection of members that turned up at an open meeting and voted as they saw fit. We have decided to use Whatpub scores as the guiding principle. That said if we notice a landlord or landlady awarding their pub a string of fives (the top score) that undermines the credibility of the scoring. That brings me to the Good Beer Guide. I personally think at a price of £10 for members it is extremely good value. The reason for this is - except for a few HQ staff - the legwork is done by volunteers. CAMRA is a volunteer organisation. I have been lucky to have gained the trust of members to become chairman (and I do not disguise that I personally prefer chair or chairperson – but I am opening a can of worms here). If you think you would like to become a branch officer - including chairman - do not hesitate to seek nominations. Put yourself forward. I hope to see you at Northumbria Students Union for the Newcastle Beer and Cider Festival 2018. Cheers! Hubert Gieschen Branch Chairman Issue 243 • Spring 2018 19

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