What is CAMRA?
CAMRA is an independent, voluntary, consumer organisation. Membership is open to all individuals, but corporate entities such as breweries and pubs are not members. CAMRA is governed by a voluntary unpaid National Executive, elected by the membership. There is a dozen or so employed staff responsible for central campaigning, research, administration of membership, sales and so forth.
It is no exaggeration to say that CAMRA saved real ale in the UK, and as a result saved many independent breweries. No new ale breweries were set up in the UK for fifty years before CAMRA was founded. There are now around 300 new brewers producing real ale, part of a massive real ale revival.
Our membership has increased from 30,000 in 1989 to 130,000 in 2011. The main growth area in the beer market is Real Ale, as we see a more discerning drinker.
Benefits of CAMRA Membership
Benefits of being a member of CAMRA include receiving the monthly What's Brewing? newspaper, which is always full of interesting articles, and reduced admission charges to most CAMRA beer festivals. CAMRA produces several books and guides each year that are available to members at reduced prices.
There are national and local campaigns as CAMRA maintains its efforts to ensure the availability of traditional real ales. It is campaigning to ensure that every pint of beer bought actually contains a full pint: far too many do not. CAMRA campaigns for reduced tax on beer and assistance for smaller brewers.
Locally, branches campaign to keep breweries open and to protect heritage pubs.
It should be pointed out that we also meet in pubs very often, where we talk and drink beer a great deal in variable proportions.