50 Years of CAMRA

The Campaign for Real Ale is pleased to announce a new book celebrating the first 50 years of the campaign. Written by beer writer, author and blogger Laura Hadland the book is full of first hand accounts from members and volunteers and details some of the highs and lows of a campaigning organisation that has been championing consumers, pubs and breweries for half a century.

50 Years of CAMRA

How people power has helped to preserve traditional British beer, cider and perry. This is the tale of a swift half century of one of the world’s most successful consumer organisations.

 Laura Hadland tells the living history of one of the UK’s most colourful campaigns in this absorbing new book. She describes mock funerals held for breweries under threat of closure and mass rallies outside the Houses of Parliament. A bomb scare before the first national CAMRA beer festival at Covent Garden. One volunteer flyposting the whole of Leeds with 800 CAMRA festival posters in a daring midnight raid on a 650 Suzuki. One member’s accidental late night ‘swim’ in the River Ouse. Well, a few pints had been consumed.

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I give my heartfelt thanks to the scores of people who shared their stories and memories so generously with me, and especially to those that took the time to reply to my follow up questions and even check over the veracity of my text. I hope that this book has done you proud. In particular I would like to mention Jessica Boak, Michael Hardman, Gillian Hough and Roger Protz for your endless patience with me. – Laura Hadland

How did the Campaign For Real Ale start?

Four passionate, professional and slightly tipsy young men from the North-West see that their favourite beer is disappearing under the relentless onslaught of bland, fizzy and expensive keg beers.

They resolve to start a campaign to protect cask conditioned ale. Fifty years later, their organisation has had a global influence and changed the face of a multi million pound industry. The little guys, the customers, fought the giants of industry and their marketing machines and they won. But more importantly, these four men created a huge network of lifelong friendships that have been shared over a cheeky half.

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Errata: The following corrections to 50 Years of CAMRA have been brought to our attention:

  • On page 217 Leif Mills has been incorrectly named Reece Mills. He was a member of the MMC rather than the chair.
  • On page 232 John Grogan MP has been incorrectly named John Groby MP.