Today I have some nice things to say about CAMRA. While some people do not agree with my opinions in regards to CAMRA’s relationship with J. D. Wetherspoons, they are entitled to their opinion. I encourage them to either blog responses to mine, or email Tony Jerome and tell him why they like JDW pubs and the relationship. My post was a direct response to CAMRA as solicited in my new member information kit. It saddens me that some people have contacted CAMRA asking me to be banned from the campaign and said unsavoury things about me on other blogs when I was responding to solicited feedback.
Anyhow Tony was nice enough to provide me with a lengthy email detailing why CAMRA has formed a strategic alliance with JDW. While I don’t necessarily agree with all the arguments, some of them were sensible. I also managed to get my message and concerns across, so I consider this progress.
In Tony’s response he also mentioned how image has been a problem for CAMRA over the years and the media’s portrayal of the typical real ale drinker stereotype has damaged the real ale industry. Tony stated that the number of members who have long beards and perhaps enjoy wearing sandles are now a minority. I will put my hand up and say that I have been guilty of making fun of beardy weirdies in relation to CAMRA in the past. I will point out that this same stereotype can be applied to Morris Dancers, Dungeons and Dragons fans, Trainspotters, a well as Real Ale drinkers in general (not necessarily CAMRA members) and while I may still continue to occasionally fire off a dart at weird beards, I won’t be implicating CAMRA in the process anymore.
A quick flip through the CAMRA members handbook (pictured above), and it is obvious that CAMRA are conscious of projecting a positive image. The handbook contains pictures of people from all social demographics, with the exception of the established real ale stereotype which is noticeably absent. I view this as a positive step in the right direction.
I still disagree with some of the national campaigns and other information in the new members kit and will elaborate further on these in forthcoming posts. Stay tuned.