- Finally – Our Pubs are open again
Monday 31 May 2021
Monday May 17th was a long time coming, certainly for me. The reopening of pubs on 12th April for outside drinking was very welcome, it would have been a lot better if we had last year’s glorious spring weather. I spent a few afternoons sitting under the large canopy in the garden of the Crown in Horsell watching the raindrops falling. I worried that my beer was being diluted on its journey from bar to table! Pubs were generally unable to stay open into the evening, a few hardy customers may have been willing to brave the chill but most had retreated to the comfort of home. Of course there were a lot of pubs that were unable to open in April as they had little or no outside space, some others felt that it just wasn’t viable to open just for outside drinking.
Although it has been wonderful to get back inside pubs we are still not allowed to walk around without a mask and ordering a pint at the bar is still definitely not allowed. Some pubs ask you to order via an app on your mobile phone, this can be a problem for those who don’t own a suitable phone or don’t want to use such technology. In other pubs you need to wait for a passing member of staff to take your order and then wait expectantly for your pint, hoping that it arrives full and hasn’t been spilt on the journey.
Many landlords have reported that business has been quiet, customers aren’t returning in their droves. I hope that if you are reading this you enjoy a good pint and have visited a pub. Our pubs are community hubs serving their locals and need our support, if you haven’t visited your local yet I ask you to take a wander down and enjoy a pint or two.
Ian Johnson Chairman Surrey Hampshire Border Branch CAMRA
- Local Council Elections
Monday 3 May 2021
With local elections taking place this coming Thursday, now is a good time to contact councillor candidates to ask for their support, if elected, in campaigning for local pubs, clubs and breweries.
Whilst Hampshire & Surrey County Councils have limited powers and responsibilities directly affecting pubs, the borough councils are responsible for local policies relating to planning, licensing, local business rate reliefs and supporting businesses and culture more generally.
This will also help us build strong relationships with our local elected representatives, and increase understanding of issues relating to consumers, beer, cider, pub and clubs.
The easiest way to find contact details for your local candidates is to enter your postcode on the Website www.whocanivotefor.co.uk
What you ask candidates is entirely up to you but you might explain why you are a CAMRA member and why particular local pubs and breweries are important to you. You can ask candidates if they will, if elected, work with the Surrey Hants Borders CAMRA branch to support, promote and protect local pubs and clubs in their ward and across the council area.
Another issue that may be of interest are their views on protecting community pubs as part of local planning policies, and whether they think the council has sufficient pub protection policies in place.
Finally if you do get in touch with candidates and they reply, let me know what they say, so we are able to follow up with them if they are elected.
- CAMRA says dropping vaccine passports for pubs ‘right call for consumers and licensees alike’
Tuesday 27 April 2021
Responding to the news that the Government has shelved plans to bring in ‘vaccine passports’ for pubs and hospitality businesses in England, Nik Antona, CAMRA Chairman said:
“This was the right call to make – a vaccine passport scheme would have been another nightmare set of rules for licensees to enforce and potentially exclusionary to some consumers.
“The social and wellbeing benefits of pub going should be available to everyone, and the Government still has not provided any evidence that hospitality businesses have been a major vector for virus transmissions – so we saw no reason why the sector should be singled out for more unfair treatment.
“Licensees will be breathing a sigh of relief today – especially as many are still getting to grips with new rules on registering all customers in groups for Test and Trace, and planning for indoor reopening in May.
“The Government must now stick to its reopening roadmap, and double down on efforts to encourage to people socialise safely in pubs and social clubs by introducing a new, lower, rate of duty for draught beer, and extending the business rates holiday.”
- Cask is BACK, so back CASK
Sunday 11 April 2021
A new campaign has been launched calling on beer drinkers to back British brewing and pubs and opt for a pint of fresh cask beer from a local independent brewery when they return to pubs next week.
Sales of hand-pulled cask beer, which can only be sold in pubs, have been hit hard by Coronavirus restrictions – with sales of this fresh British beer down 70% over the last twelve months – but this new campaign is seeking to reverse those fortunes and has the backing of brewers, beer drinkers and publicans alike.
The 'Cask is BACK, so back CASK' campaign has been launched by the Society of Independent Brewers, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), the British Institute of Innkeeping, and Cask Marque – who are championing Britain’s National drink, which can only be enjoyed down the pub.
"Cask beer and pubs go hand-in-hand and are an important part of our National identity. Because cask beer can only be enjoyed in the pub it’s the drink millions of beer lovers across the UK have missed most during lockdown. Whether you're a real ale enthusiast or sometimes beer drinker, we're asking everyone to support their local independent breweries and opt for their first pint back in the pub to be some delicious local cask beer. For publicans, those pubs that do cask and do it well will reap the rewards so we’re encouraging all in the pub trade to prioritise cask and ensure that first pint back is in tip-top condition. The message is simple - cask is back, so back cask!" James Calder, SIBA Chief Executive.
What makes the Great British pub so unique is delicious, fresh cask beer. It’s a drink you can only enjoy in the pub and which millions of people across the UK have not been able to enjoy for much of the last twelve months. So when pubs reopen next week I’d like to invite you to join me in making our first pint down the pub a fresh cask beer from a local brewery, you’ll not only get a great tasting beer but you’ll be supporting local independent breweries and our struggling pub-industry.” Tom Stainer, Chief Executive CAMRA
“Cask ale is a unique attribute to UK pubs and a key point of difference to many BII members, who run professional independent, drink-led venues in our local towns, high streets and communities. Our pubs need ongoing support to recover their businesses and support fantastic local brewers that make our pubs so special.
“The BII continues to support members through this critical reopening and long road to recovery of their pubs, as well as the key supply chain businesses that help make the Great British pub part of our nation’s heritage.” Steven Alton, CEO of the BII.
“We have all missed the pub and for a lot of us a pint of Cask Ale will complete our rehabilitation. Serving great cask ale I am sure will get more people back into the British pub.” Paul Nunny, Cask Marque Director
- CAMRA demands clarity for consumers and licensees ahead of reopening
Wednesday 7 April 2021
The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has said that the Government must offer assurances to licensees and consumers over rules on reopening.
It has been more than a year since pubs were ordered to close as part of the first lockdown, and they will be among the last businesses to fully reopen. CAMRA is calling on the Government to ensure that pubs and social clubs are treated fairly during reopening, that any restrictions are evidence-based, and that hospitality businesses are not singled out. In the last year, pubs have faced a number of restrictions that have not applied to other similar businesses – including the evening curfew, the ‘substantial meal’ requirement and a ban on serving takeaway beer.
Last week, industry representatives wrote to the Government over concerns about new rules for reopening, and vaccine passports have not been completely ruled for the future, a measure which could be discriminatory and confusing for licensees and consumers.
CAMRA is concerned that the hospitality sector is yet again being singled out with draconian and unevidenced restrictions – such as banning service outside from traditional hatches, and the possibility that venues will not be allowed to take payment at the bar, both of which were allowed last summer.
Commenting, CAMRA's National Chairman Nik Antona said:
“As consumers, we're all looking forward to pubs in England starting to reopen outdoor areas on 12 April, and the opportunity to support our locals and enjoy the social wellbeing benefits of pub going.
“It is important to recognise that only around a third of pubs will be able to open on the 12th, and many of these will not be able to trade viably. Changing the goalposts now will create uncertainty for consumers and licensees, and further damage pubs finances and consumer confidence.
“CAMRA wants to see support offered for as long as pubs and clubs are trading at reduced levels, as well as long-term investment measures, including a preferential rate of duty for draught beer so that our locals can thrive in the future.
“The impact of the pandemic on pubs will continue to be felt long beyond reopening, and it is vital that this is recognised by the Government.”
- CAMRAs Pubs Matter Campaign Relaunched
Sunday 28 February 2021
It’s been almost a year since pubs, clubs and taprooms first closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This could be the last chance to secure new financial support to see great local free houses such as Alfred's and the Prince of Wales through to re-opening, and beyond.
That’s why CAMRA has relaunched the #PubsMatter campaign and asking everyone to flood social media with personal messages to the Chancellor between now and Budget day on Wednesday 3rd March.
Taking part is really simple – just tweet @RishiSunak and your local MP using #PubsMatter and tell them why your pub matters.
You can still take part even if you don’t use social media by emailing your MP and asking them to call for increased financial support for pubs and breweries at the Budget.
The last year has been incredibly hard – but it is more important than ever that all our pubs and breweries get the support they need in the coming weeks and months to help them through lockdowns, periods of restricted trading and until they can fully re-open.
- Spring Budget Campaign 2021
Monday 15 February 2021
The Chancellor of the Exchequer will deliver the Budget on 3rd March setting out the state of the economy and the Government plans for changes to taxation.
The Government must take a common-sense and evidence-led approach, and refrain from imposing unfair or draconian restrictions on pubs and clubs when they reopen.
CAMRA's key asks for the Budget
• A lower rate of duty on draught beer, to encourage people back into pubs and clubs when they reopen
• An extension to the VAT reduction and for it to apply to alcohol sales too
• Furlough extended until every pub and club in the UK is properly open again
• Cancellation of business rates for another year
Pubs matter to people and communities, and will be part of both the economic and social healing process from the pandemic, but that can only happen if publicans get proper financial support in this Budget so that they can reopen and thrive again.
How to Get Involved
CAMRA also wants to see long-term changes so that our locals, and the producers who supply them, can thrive again once restrictions are lifted.
Email your MP and ask them to support the campaign here: https://camra.eactivist.com/Budget2021
- Red Mist pubs sold
Thursday 28 January 2021
Red Mist Leisure, who own 10 pubs, 5 of which are in the Surrey Hants Borders Branch Area, have sold their business to Red Lion Holdings.
This includes the following pubs:
• Exchequer, Crookham Village
• Queen's Head, East Clandon
• Castle Inn, Farnham
• Stag on the River, Lower Eashing
• Duke of Cambridge, Tilford
The Duke of Cambridge is also the home of Tilford Brewery. No idea of the detail yet, but this type of deal rarely end up being positive for the beer drinker.
- Westminster Debate on the Petition for a Minister of Hospitality
Thursday 14 January 2021
I support of all those suffering greatly across the hospitality sector, and would like to thank to all who signed the petition for appointing a Minister of Hospitality, back in December. The petition got over 200,000 signatures, and hence was put forward for debate in Parliament on Monday, 11th January.
Links to the YouTube video and the transcripts of the debate are below. It looks like there was agreement it would be useful and will now go further up the chain. News and Ale readers will be updated when there are further developments.
Beyond the short, now becoming mid-term lockdowns, and sadly the inevitable lock ups, what would you like to see on the priority list for such an appointed minister? Answers on a postcard please!
Watch the debate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CuWGVGiTzU
Read the transcript: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2021-01-11/debates/FCAB0ADE-7DE7-4C5D-8A14-D74F0D5B760C/HospitalityIndustryGovernmentSupport?fbclid=IwAR01QkYCX_AuXVkbbdKEOwsvbz6Da84UFrq9A83ugsJ0_m_SqBCx2lW3yJE
The petition: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/552201
Martine Barnes 13/01/21
Sunday 10 January 2021
Surrey Hants Borders CAMRA is supporting Tryanuary, a volunteer-led, online community that encourages consumers to continue supporting small, independent beer businesses during January, a notoriously difficult trading month in a normal year, let alone when pubs and clubs are closed under another lockdown.
This year Tryanuary extends beyond January, until the end of the current lockdown.
You can support Tryanuary by purchasing beer from local pubs and breweries who are finding innovative ways to weather the crisis – click the buttons below to see what pubs, breweries and cider producers are doing near you.
You can also find local pubs offering services during the current crisis here
You can find local breweries offering services during the current crisis here
Finally support Brew 2 You,
Brew2You is CAMRA’s new app to help you buy beer and cider from local pubs, breweries and cider producers – so you get the best brews and help businesses stay afloat during lockdown. There are already over 300 pubs/breweries listed via the platform - check it out today! The Tryanuary website is here: https://www.tryanuary.com/
- Good Beer Guide 2021
Thursday 29 October 2020
The 2021 edition of CAMRA's best-selling Good Beer Guide is now on sale.
Congratulations to all the pubs that made it in this time. Because of the Covid-19 restrictions we did not hold our usual local launch this year but you can buy a copy from CAMRA's online shop. The GBG app is also available here.
- 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 supported a petition to reverse the change to Small Brewers Relief. When the petition closed it had attracted 51,609 signatures.
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