CAMRA vs Bloggers. A fight kicked off by a provoking jab from CAMRA’s chairman. But it’s a fight which shouldn’t be happening, especially not from CAMRA’s point of view.
We might not blog about bad beer too often, as Tandleman grumps (life’s too short to blog about bad beer, I think), but we’re quite happy to jump into battle and blog about things which annoy us in the beer world. And Colin Valentine has just mobilised a small army against him and CAMRA.
And why? What does he stand to gain from it? If anything, he’s got more to lose, especially with his bitter tone and the way he spits out the ugly term Bloggerati (even if it does compliment blogger power as one complete unit).
What CAMRA needs to do, and they really should do it quickly, is get beer bloggers on their side and work on some blogger relations. They are alienating the people who spend their time drinking and writing about beer – all bloggers promote beer and the more people who are interested in good beer, the bigger the potential audience for CAMRA. Bloggers berating them is only doing CAMRA more damage.
And guess what? All bloggers love cask beer. All of us. We all drink it, we all talk about it, we all blog about it. It’s churlish and childish to poke bloggers with sticks because we also talk about kegged beer and bottled beer, or that we use the term craft beer (which, by the way, can be real ale and doesn’t have to just contain a sack of C-hops per half pint and be poured from a keg...).
For me, the thing which connects beer bloggers is that we all love beer and we love all good beer. We don’t want CAMRA to change their focus on real ale (we do know that CAMRA stands for the Campaign for Real Ale – we aren’t idiots) but I think we would all agree that we want something which focuses on good beer above a form of beer. If that isn’t CAMRA then so be it. It’s not keg vs cask and it’s definitely not real ale vs craft beer, but it is forward-thinking vs backing-looking.
Real ale is incredibly important; really tasty, well-brewed beer is more important, however it’s dispensed. An argument over a container is stupid. It’s got to taste good and I couldn’t care less how it gets from brewery to glass as long as it tastes good when it gets there. To only be interested in one or two routes from brewery to glass is to have a closed mind on the huge potentials of what great beer can be.
CAMRA need to make some friends among the online writers and not push them further away.
I’m late on this one and lots of people have already discussed it. Zythophile kicked it off, then Tandleman and Glyn from Rabid About Beer jumped in, Pete Brown has had his say, as has Sid Boggle, Reluctant Scooper and Mark from Beer.Birra.Bier.
And for the record, I am a CAMRA member. I have been for five years. I pay so that I can get BEER magazine (plus the occasional cheaper entry to beer festivals).
Photo from here