Surrey Hants Borders

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale


  • Small Brewers Relief Wednesday 14 October 2020

    A major campaign CAMRA is currently involved in is in relation to Small Brewers Tax Relief. It may seem strange to be focussing on a long standing tax scheme during a national crisis. However, now perhaps, more than ever improvements to the way small brewers are taxed may just help them to survive and conversely changes that disadvantage them might be the final nail in the coffin.

    Small Brewers Relief was introduced in 2002 and currently applies to breweries producing up to 60,000HL per year. It is a progressive beer duty (meaning that smaller breweries pay less tax on their products), intended to support small brewers to grow and to compensate for the economies of scale enjoyed by larger and global brewers. It is widely considered to have been a success and is credited for the boom in brewery numbers. Nevertheless there is a general industry consensus that it should be reviewed as the levels of relief discourages brewers from growing and medium sized brewers can be squeezed as they don’t enjoy the level of relief of the smallest producers or the economies of scale of the larger and multinational brewers. Much of the campaign for change has been led by Rupert Thompson, owner of local brewery Hogs Back, who has argued that smaller brewers are overcompensated for economies of scale in the industry

    In July Government announced that it has concluded its review and is proposing changes that will essentially take away tax relief from the brewers at the smaller end of the production scale to give more relief to larger ‘small’ brewers.

    Having carefully considered both sides of the arguments CAMRA continues to believe that the Small Brewers’ Relief Scheme is vital to a thriving beer market, and to ensuring choice for consumers. However, we do not believe that removing relief from the smallest brewers should not happen without broad industry consensus and that the Government should publish evidence of how it arrived at the preferred approach of lowering the point at which a brewery receives the full relief from 5,000HL to 2,100HL . We do however remain committed to campaigning for an increase in the top threshold for relief to 200,000HL.

    We are therefore supporting a petition to reverse the Government’s planned changes. In late September the petition had attracted 42,000 signatures. Details of the petition are here

    Please consider signing the petition and sharing it with friends and family – if 100,000 people sign it, it will be considered for debate in Parliament. We want to make sure that there are no avoidable losses in the numbers of breweries in the UK, so that pub goers get more choice at the bar.

  • Supporting Sober October? You can still continue to support pubs in Surrey and Hampshire Thursday 1 October 2020

    People across Hampshire & Surrey will be taking part in ‘Sober October’ fundraising drives but they can still continue supporting local pubs simply by choosing a non-alcoholic beer or soft drink at the bar.


    Charity events and health campaigns that encourage people to not drink for a month can have a big impact on community pubs – many of whom are understandably already struggling with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. That’s why we are urging people across the area to continue to support their local during October in a safe and responsible way, helping to secure the future of our pubs as vital community meeting spaces.

    As well as supporting local businesses through tough times, pub-going and enjoying a non-alcoholic drink with family or friends also brings with it huge well-being benefits. On top of doing fantastic work themselves raising money for charity and supporting their local communities.

    The Snow Goose in Farnborough is one of many examples. Throughout lockdown they did what a community pub should do, carried on serving the community. They established a pop up shop, which is still open offering basic essentials at cost price to key workers and those in need. They ran a Macmillan Coffee Morning in September with tea and coffee. and cake for just a small donation to make a big difference.

    Like many of our pubs they also offer a fantastic range of low and no-alcohol alternatives to your favourite pint, allowing people to continue to support their local whatever they decide to drink.

    Whether you’re taking part in a fundraiser or if you haven’t been to your local in a while, I’d encourage everyone to safely and sensibly support their local pubs as much as possible in the coming weeks and months to make sure we don’t risk losing them altogether.

  • Cheers To Choice Saturday 27 June 2020


    As pub-goers we want our locals to stock a wide range of beers, ciders and perries from local, independent producers when they reopen.

    Pub landlords who are tied tenants are restricted in what they can sell and are often banned from putting on the products they know their customers want to drink.

    That’s why CAMRA is launching the “Cheers to Choice” campaign and asking pub companies to help the whole sector recover by allowing tied pubs to stock local brews.

    Please sign our petition to pub company bosses to ask them to allow and encourage their tenants to stock what we want to drink. Help make it happen sign the petition here

  • Ascot Brewing Company launch discount beer voucher offer Thursday 4 June 2020

    To celebrate the launch of their new in-house canning machine, they are offering exclusive 50% Xtra beer vouchers to beer lovers across the U.K. The scheme launched on the 4th of June and is running for up to 30 days.

    The deal is that for every £1 spent on the vouchers, the purchaser will get £1.50 back in beer money. The beer vouchers can be spent from 4th July 2020 on Ascot branded beer, gin, glasses and t-shirts and will last a year. The vouchers do not have to be spent in one go, but can BE used until their value runs out.

    Ascot say "More than ever, we need to help each other out, and this special discount is a win for you and a win for our brewery"

    For more information, click here to take advantage of this limited time offer.

  • Furlough scheme announcement could spell death knell for pubs Saturday 30 May 2020

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced that under the furlough scheme businesses will be asked to contribute national insurance and pension contributions from August, 10% of wages in September and 20% of wages in October, CAMRA Chief Executive Tom Stainer said:

    “The lockdown has brought home just how important local pubs are to communities and in tackling loneliness and social isolation. It is vital that we give pubs the support they need to be able to survive and thrive in the months and years ahead.

    “The introduction of flexibility in the furlough scheme that will allow people to work part time is welcome news for pubs and their staff. However, the harsh reality of this announcement is that many pubs just won’t be able to pay towards wages, National Insurance and pension contributions on top of existing costs and during periods of reduced trade due to social distancing measures reducing capacity.

    “Those smaller pubs that are unsuitable for social distancing, as well as those in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales that might not be able to re-open until much later in the year, won’t have any income at all to pay these extra staff costs.

    “This will leave pubs with an impossible choice between taking on more debt, letting staff go, or calling it a day and closing down their businesses for good.

    “The Government should look again at this announcement and consider applying a flexible furlough arrangement for pubs until later in the year, helping them survive restricted re-openings. Otherwise I fear we will see many jobs lost and pubs not being able to survive and having to close for good.”

  • Branch Pub & Club of the Year Awards 2020 Saturday 21 March 2020

    Surrey Hants Borders Branch of CAMRA is delighted to announce the winners of our Pub, Cider Pub and Club of the Year competition.

    Branch Pub of the Year – Alfred Free House

    For the second year running Surrey Hants Borders Branch has a new recipient of our Branch Pub of the Year.

    The top pub in 2020 is a first time winner of the award, the Alfred Free House, Upper Hale near Farnham. This is a friendly family run, street corner local tucked away in a leafy residential area down a very narrow road. The public bar is popular with locals and visitors alike and good conversation is the order of the day.

    What really caught the judges eye was the unusual and welcome choice of real ales.

    With over 200 pubs to choose from, it wasn't an easy task to pick a winner, but Alfred Free House is a worthy winner. The award isn’t just about the excellent range of beers, but also about their high quality as well as the warm and friendly atmosphere at the pub.

    The Branch will be presenting a certificate to mark the success when the pub reopens.

    Branch Club of the Year – Railway and Athletic Club, Woking

    Unlike Alfred Free House, the Branch Club of the Year is no stranger to the top place as 2020 is the 6th successive year the club has won the award. This friendly and lively social club is tucked away near Victoria Arch, serving an ever-changing selection of ales, often from local breweries, normally three at a time. One side of the bar is sports orientated, with darts, (free to play) pool and Sky Sports, while the other side is quieter. CAMRA members are welcome at all times, simply show a CAMRA membership card or copy of the current Good Beer Guide, in which the Club is an entry.

    Branch Cider & Perry Pub of the Year – Star Inn, Godalming

    For the 8th time in succession the Branch Cider Pub of the Year is the Star, Godalming. The Star shines as a beacon supporting real cider, when few other pubs in the area do, whilst still selling an excellent range of real ales too.

    However the Star is especially renowned for its selection of ciders and perries, with around six from an ever changing range, sourced by landlord, Andy Mounsey, directly from the National Cider Farm in Sussex. The Star usually stocks a draft mead and there is also a separate Stable Cider Bar in the garden which serves a different range of ciders together with a single real ale. This bar is open Thursday to Sunday. Again our presentation of this award scheduled for May, is postponed indefinitely.

  • Farnham Beerex postponed until 2021 Friday 13 March 2020

    Update: with the continuing pandemic the Beerex has been postponed until 2021.

    Keith Harris, the Beerex chairman, today issued the following statement.

    In view of the increasing risk to individual’s health caused by Covid-19 and the ongoing uncertainty regarding the staging of future events, the Directors of Farnham Beerex have, after much debate and with great regret, taken the decision to postpone the 44th Annual Farnham Beer Exhibition (Beerex) due to be held on April 23-25th 2020.

    Farnham Beerex Chairman, Keith Harris, said “Our primary concern and responsibility is the welfare of our visitors, volunteers and all others associated with this great annual event. We know that many will be as disappointed, as we are, but trust that our decision will be understood by all."

    Please bear with us whilst we work hard to unravel all of the planning and commitments related to the event in April and we are pleased to confirm our intention to hold the 44th annual Farnham Beerex on August 20th - 22nd 2020, our first ever Summer Beerex. We will contact all who have purchased tickets by email before March 30th and post all further updates on our website at We expect all tickets will be valid for the same corresponding session in August and we will work to announce this month the process for those unable to attend.

    Thank you for your understanding in these times of unprecedented uncertainty. Please stay safe.

    Keith Harris

    Chairman - Farnham Beerex

  • Villages in Loxley, Warwickshire due to buy their own pub Sunday 26 January 2020

    Last week BBC News reported that nearly 200 residents of Loxley have joined together to buy The Fox Inn - the village's only pub - amid fears it could be sold to developers and closed down. Like the White Lion in Aldershot pub was listed as an asset of community value (ACV) which gave the community the time to raise funds to place their own bid to buy the pub. Funds have been raised through the sale of community shares and a loan to make up the difference between the £250,000 raised and the agreed price.

    BBC News
    Fox at Loxley Action Group Facebook page
    The Fox page on the Loxley Village website

  • CAMRA encourages beer lovers to ‘tap into’ taprooms this Tryanuary Friday 17 January 2020

    The Campaign for Real Ale is encouraging beer lovers to ‘tap into’ brewery taprooms this Tryanuary with 14 recommendations from its members. Tryanuary is a nationwide campaign in which participants are encouraged to try new venues in order to help local businesses during what can be a challenging month for retailers. Taprooms can be a great place to sample the latest beers straight from the source, which is why CAMRA has put together a list of recommendations.

    The list is available on the CAMRA website:

    Details of two entries on the list that are close to the Surrey/Hants Borders area are reproduced below along with details of tap rooms that are in in the branch area.

    CAMRA National Director Ash Corbett-Collins said: “We’d like to encourage anyone who loves beer to support the industry this month. Tryanuary was launched in order to help offset what can be a difficult time for pubs and breweries, as people try to atone for overindulgence during the festive period.

    “January is a great time to sample new beers – particularly real ale – which is why we’ve put together this list of taprooms around the UK. Taprooms provide a unique experience, allowing you to try beers straight from the source, speak to brewers directly and find styles and flavours you love. We hope everyone can get involved.”

    The list forms part of the Love Pubs, Join CAMRA campaign which will see individual pub recommendations released each month to encourage more beer-drinkers and pub-goers to support the cause.

    Thames Side Brewery and Tap Room, Surrey – founded by CAMRA member Andy Hayward in 2015 in an old boatyard on the River Thames. The Taproom boasts a full view of the brewery in operation. Three core ales and a rotating real cider are on offer, with two additional ones when trade permits. The upstairs room and balcony overlook the river and historical Staines Bridge and are ideal for socials and meetings. A great addition to the local real ale scene, it is open Wednesday to Sunday.

    Redemption Tap Room, Greater London – opens on Saturdays when Tottenham Hotspur FC has a home game – 11th and 22nd in January 2020. It offers a good selection of keg and cask beers, including the award-winning Hopspur on cask and Solar on keg. Also, some of the best street food producers from across London are also on hand for a tasty pre-match meal!

    Ascot Brewing Company Tap Room - Tap Room for the Ascot Brewing Company. Opened in December 2019, with the brewery itself due to relocate to the site in March 2020. Opening hours are likely to vary until the tap is firmly established. A selection of beers in bottle and on draught from the core Ascot range, together with their Disruption is Brewing craft range are available. Also on sale are bottled beers from Belgium. No real ale yet. WhatPub entry

    Craft Brews @ Frensham Brewery - Frensham Brewery is open to the public 2 days a week. Beers can be purchased to take away or ordered by the pint to drink actually inside the brewery, as there is a full on licence. The aim is to always have 4 or 5 beers own beers on at any one time, there are also cider/perry in a box and other non-beer drinks. WhatPub entry

    Hogs Back Brewery Shop & Winter Bar - The Winter Bar opened in November 2019 following the successful Summer Bar in advance of a taproom in their new kiln next year, Ordering and beer collection takes place from a new counter in the shop. Drinkers sit on a selection of benches under a covered and heated canopy outside the brewery. Bottles purchased from the brewery shop can be sampled on site, with Hogs Back bottles attracting a premium to drink in. WhatPub entry.

    The Crown - Thurston’s brewery tap - A brewery tap in the traditional sense. The Crown is a welcoming two-bar community pub that happens to be the birthplace of Thurstons Brewery. Three beers from Thurstons and three other real ales are available at any one time. The Crown is CAMRA’s current Surrey Pub of the Year. WhatPub entry

  • Hogs Brewery Go TEA Total campaign Tuesday 31 December 2019

    Hogs Back Brewery in Tongham is running its 'Support Your Local, Go TEA Total' campaign during January. The campaign is designed to encourage more people to visit the pub for a sociable pint or two during the month, as a way of countering the January blues and supporting local pubs.

    The campaign also includes a competition to find the TEA Drinkers Pub of the Year and a 'TEA Total Thursdays' offering drinkers a round of beers and a brewery tour.