Manchester Needs You!

“Manchester needs you!

You probably know the Greater Manchester branches of CAMRA organise the magnificent Manchester Beer and Cider Festival and have done so since its inception four years ago. We have now found our new (and hopefully permanent) home in the centre of Manchester in the Manchester Central Convention centre – which you may know better as G-Mex – and are already planning for the 2018 (24th – 27th January) and the 2019 (23rd – 26th January) events.

While we have an excellent Organising Committee, there is always room for new blood and new and different skills. We want to give more members the opportunity to get involved in the festival and want to assure every CAMRA member in the region that we are by no means a closed shop.

Can you help?

Professional qualifications that would make our event better:

· Do you hold a Security Industry Authority badge – or would you like to be trained to get an SIA badge? We have paid for several members to gain such qualifications that some have then used to gain a new form of employment or enhance their own employment opportunities.

· Are you already, or have been, employed in the pub or brewing industry?

· Do you have design skills?

· Event Management skills?

· Organisational skills?

· Or are you just willing to get involved to ensure that our event becomes better and better every year?

Beer knowledge – if you have visited the event as a customer you will be aware of how big the event has become and how modern the event has become.

Are you interested in craft beer? We now sell craft beer in both keykeg and cask form.

We also research and purchase foreign beers from all over Europe.

Have you an interest in Cider and Perry? Mead? Fruit wines – then yes, we have bars that sell these. You could help us source and sell them.

Customer care and ‘back room’ skills:

Do you have customer care skills? Interface well with the public? Or are you a “back room” person? We have opportunities for anybody who wishes to stay in the background whether during or before the event.

· We need help in designing posters, website work, designing beer mats, thinking up a logo, ordering polo and T shirts for sale.

· Are you interested in food? You could organise the food for the Volunteers from a local hostelry? Or organise many other things?

· You could get involved with selling VIP packages?

· You could meet and greet people coming to the event?

· You could help to serve beers to customers who have paid for tasting sessions?

· Know your way around websites and coding, or systems automation? We need you.

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer for all aspects of the festival, both before and during it.

Many of you will have skills from your working life that we could use in the organisation of the event or during the event itself. To reassure you, many jobs in these days of electronic communications and the good old fashioned phone don’t involve a lot of time at meetings, so perhaps you could think of offering us a little of your time and helping the campaign at the same time? We’re also keen to recruit deputies – so you could work alongside more experienced members to get a feel of festival organisation.

It’s not all one way

There are benefits to helping organise a beer festival…

· We reward all participants with free beer (or cider).

· Free Volunteers T-shirt.

· Commemorative Volunteers Polo or T-shirt at cost price.

· Free food during set up and take down.

· Organised nights out during set up.

· Some travel and accommodation benefits.

· A volunteer party with food, drink and awards.

· The pride you’ll feel of putting on a nationally-recognised event that attracts more than 13,500 visitors and serves over 62,00o pints.

I promise you that you’ll be very welcome and you’ll make new friends for sure. You can do as little or much as you feel able. If this is for you, or you want to know more, just drop me an email or ring me at the number below. Or, log onto the website and look for

Graham Donning

Festival Organiser

Phone: 07961 886696 Email:

Web: Facebook: Twitter:


Wednesday 24th Trade and CAMRA Members only 1630 – 2100.

Thursday 25th – Saturday 27th 2018

Manchester Central Albion Street M1 5LN

How the Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) and Champion Winter Beer of Britain (CWBOB) competitions work

All cask conditioned beers available for 3 months, during a calendar year, can be entered into the selection process that starts during September and October, when members can vote for their favourite beers in each of CAMRA’s style categories. Voting is usually by region (not all the same as CAMRA’s regions, as some are amalgamated), and in some bigger regions members can only vote for beers in their county or group of counties. For example in East Anglia, if you live in Essex you can vote only for Essex beers, and if you live in Suffolk you can only vote for Suffolk beers and so on. These arrangements vary from region to region, and are always subject to review. These nominations go forward to the CAMRA Area CBOB coordinators, responsible for co-ordinating Area competitions. The regional taste panels also input their opinions on beers which deserve to go forward. These nominations are then ranked and the top selections go forward to the Area competitions, where Area category winners are selected and forwarded into the final CBOB and CWBOB competitions. This ensures that there is an even spread of beer styles from all regions of the UK.

There is a perception that members’ votes do not affect the outcome. This is untrue. One or two members voting a particular beer as their favourite in a category could easily put it in contention for judging in the regional competitions that follow. The more votes we get, the more robust the process and the greater integrity the competition has. It is also true that some members don’t like the current system of which beers they can vote for. If anyone is not happy with the system talk to your branch chair or Regional Director in the first instance; they can forward concerns to the Area CBOB Co-ordinator who takes those decisions locally. However, we are considering changes to the whole system of what beers you can vote for, and this is coupled with a revamp of the voting portal. If the area CBOB coordinators give this the green light it can go ahead, but is totally dependent on the IT infrastructure being in place. So, hopefully, this year but if not, then next. These changes could involve members being able to vote for any eligible beer produced in the UK and/or by beers produced within a certain distance from the member’s home, as well as voting along the current regional/county lines. When I stand up at Olympia and announce the winner, knowing that many members have contributed towards that moment, is a good feeling and makes me feel confident we have come to the best decision.

Currently, between 2500 and 3000 members vote in the competition – that is about 1.5% of total membership and doesn’t even represent a significant proportion of active members and volunteers. So, I would urge all members to get involved, and have their say. It’s your competition; I am just its current guardian.

Our overwhelming preference is that these beers which go forward should be judged at regional beer festivals. This adds some objectivity and integrity to the process as the majority of the judges will be CAMRA trained, and the tastings are blind. All coordinators are urged to get as many beers judged at festivals as possible – preferably all of them, including the bottled beer category. This takes place over the year following the votes (so for the current voting round it will be done from about March 2017 to February 2018). The winners go forward to the 3 national competitions – NWAF for the winter beers (CWBOB), GBBF for the rest of the beers and the BBC Good Food Show Winter, in November, for the bottled beers. So, at NWAF in Norwich next February, the beers being judged will be the regional winners from the voting from September/October 2016. This long timescale is frustrating, and can lead to issues with beer availability/continuity, but if we are to judge at festivals then there is no way round it for now. Some suggestions include using taste panels to help judge to cut down the time taken overall, but many parts of the country do not have active taste panels at the moment. You may have seen a memo from me to recruit more taste panellists recently; this is to try and get all areas

covered by active panels to give us the option of moving CBOB in this direction if all involved agree to it.

At the Great British Beer Festival, the final CBOB category judging of the Area winners takes place, with the winning beer from the Speciality Beer, Mild and Strong Bitter categories, coupled with 2 each from the Bitter, Golden Ale and Best Bitter categories proceeding into the final round in order to judge the Supreme Champion, which is crowned the best beer in Britain. The reason for 2 beers each from the Bitter, Golden Ale and Best Bitter categories is to accommodate for the proportionate share of the commercial beer market these beer styles command.

Four beers that are fast tracked to the final round are the winners of each category of the Champion Winter Beer of Britain competition, held at the National Winter Ales Festival in January/February each year. As these beers were judged to be the Champion Beers of their style earlier in the year, they are entered automatically into the final round of CBOB. The CWBOB competition is similar in its structure to CBOB, as the final round of judging is made up of beers having reached this stage via the process of CAMRA local branch and tasting panel nominations, followed by Area competition success. The categories in this competition are Old Ale/Strong Mild, Porter, Stout and Barley Wine/Strong Old Ale.

Please note there is a separate competition for the Champion Bottled Beer of Britain (Real Ale in Bottle). Like CBOB and CWBOB, the structure of the competition relies upon CAMRA local branch and tasting panel nominations, followed by the Area competitions, with the final held at the BBC Good Food Show in November.

What can breweries do to get their beer submitted for consideration? –

Aside from ensuring their beers are of a consistently excellent standard throughout the year, brewers can consult their respective CAMRA Brewery Liaison Officer (BLO) to gain clarification on whether their beer fits the criteria defined by the categories in CAMRA’s Beer Styles Guidelines. When a list of eligible beers has been established, it is the role of the BLO to supply this list for reference to the respective CAMRA Area Competition Organiser. If brewers have any questions whatsoever regarding their beer’s eligibility, they are asked to consult their BLO for clarification; if they are unable to help then brewers should contact their Area Competition Organiser, details of whom are available from CAMRA HQ.

To help breweries ensure they have the maximum opportunity to progress in the competition there are several other things they need to know. Firstly beers are categorised according to their ABV, as it now is considered this is more reflective of style, and easier for most beer drinkers to understand.

To be eligible for CBOB, a cask conditioned Bitter, Best Bitter, Strong Bitter or Golden Ale must be available for 7 or more months of the year, and a cask conditioned Mild or Speciality Beer must be available for 3 or more months of the year, or else the cask conditioned beer must be one of the beer styles associated with the Winter season (Old Ales, Strong Milds, Barley Wine, Strong Old Ale, Porter or Stout). The BIS has five categories for availability: 12 months of the year; 7-11 months; 3-6 months; 1-2 months; and On Demand.

Also excluded are beers with misleadingly promoted geographical origin or brands with non- cask versions misleadingly promoted using CAMRA awards.

A Great Beer Festival!

The second beer festival that the Branch has run was at 53Two, a new, small theatre and event venue opposite Britons Protection, under the Metrolink bridge that runs alongside Manchester Convention Centre (ex GMEX)  – it used to be the old Baur & Millet Car Showroom some years ago
We can say that the event was a success with just 7% of the cask beers remaining at the end of the night and amongst those a selection of some 17 beers (of 73 we started with) still standing! We also had 4 food stalls selling their wares with Beehive Foods’ Scotch Eggs of various sorts (including a full English Breakfast), Just the Cheese, Oddfellows Chocolate and Howdah Snacks with their intriguing take on various Indian snacks.  All very good,   Plus, of course, a selection of various Ciders and Perrys and the odd cocktail or two!
Everybody enjoyed the venue which has a very eclectic feel to it.  With the sun cracking the flags on Saturday afternoon many of our customers sat outside in the sun enjoying their beers and ciders.  A great few days meeting many friends old and new.
Will we be back?  We certainly hope so but in the growing economy of the City of Manchester there are plans to utilise the venue as part of a new shopping centre and accommodation complex.  So, we may be back at this venue, if not we will just have to find another one, somewhere!

Sir Ralph Abercromby Saved

The Sir Ralph is saved from Neville’s Bulldozers

The historic pub has been spared demolition in Neville’s redesigned plans for the St Michael’s development.

The news comes a few months after Gary Neville asked to put the plans on hold due to ‘public outcry’ and admitting that the original plans were flawed.  The latest proposals will keep the Sir Ralph, which dates back to the time of the Peterloo massacre, as well as the historic facade of the Bootle St. Police station.

You can read the full article on the Manchester Evening News website: greater-manchester-news/sir-ralph-abercromby-pub-saved-13316813


Manchester Stakes its Claim as Cask Capital of Britain

June 23, 2017 – Manchester has emerged as the cask beer capital of Britain, following a major new study into the beer sold in the city’s pubs and bars.

The Manchester Beer Audit 2017 found 411 different cask ales on sale in venues throughout the Manchester City Council area, beating nearest rival Sheffield, which boasted 385 beers in its last survey, as well as Nottingham (334), York (281), Norwich (254), Derby (213), and Leeds (211).

The survey also confirmed that Manchester is leading other cities in kegged “craft” beers too, with 234 different beers on sale throughout the city, an increase in variety that has been sparked by the recent boom in craft brewing.

More than 80 independent breweries now operate across Greater Manchester and these breweries account for 38 per cent of all cask beers on sale and 36 per cent of craft keg beers.

“The figures confirm what Mancunians already know – this is one of the best beer cities in Britain and possibly the best place in the world to enjoy great cask beer,” said Connor Murphy, organiser of Manchester Beer Week.

“Manchester has a healthy respect for cask and not only is there a huge variety available but the quality of cask ale in this city is hard to beat. The growth of craft keg beer is also heartening and raises hope that our independent brewing scene can continue to thrive and grow.

“But venues could still do more to support the independent Mancunian brewing scene.  Although variety remains important and it is great to try beers from across the world, the fact that less than 40 per cent of all available cask and craft keg beers are from Greater Manchester shows there is still room for improvement.”

The Manchester Beer Audit 2017 was organised by the Greater Manchester Branches of CAMRA (The Campaign For Real Ale) in association with Manchester Beer Week and saw 311 pubs and bars surveyed by more than 100 volunteers on one day in May.

It found 824 handpumps and 1,957 keg fonts on bars across the city, with 72 per cent of all pubs and bars selling cask ale.

Guinness is the most common beer in the city, appearing in 50 per cent of all venues, while Sharp’s Doom Bar and Joseph Holt Bitter are the most common cask beers, found in 31 and 29 venues respectively.

However, Robinsons is the most prominent cask brewery, featuring in 36 venues, while Manchester’s own Shindigger topped the craft keg charts, featuring on the bar in 23 venues.

CAMRA’s manifesto for the 2017 General Election


On the 8 June, the UK will go to the polls for the General Election. We need your help to ensure Candidates in Manchester know how important beer and pubs are to you as a potential voter.

CAMRA is asking General Election Candidates to pledge their support for Britain’s pub goers and beer drinkers by committing to do the following if elected:

1. Beer – Celebrate and promote Britain’s 1,540 breweries

2. Pubs – Support action to help pubs thrive

3. Consumers – Represent the interests of pub goers, beer, cider and perry drinkers

You can read CAMRA’s full manifesto here

By working together in 2015, we persuaded 1,160 Candidates to pledge support for beer and pubs. As a result of this, we had 211 MPs who had promised to speak up in Parliament on our behalf.

We need to make sure that beer and pubs stay at the top of the political agenda in the next five years. Please ask your local candidates to pledge for pubs by visiting


Assets of Community Value (ACV)

The Sir Ralph Abercromby

Manchester city council have decided that they will not accept the Sir Ralph Abercromby as an Asset of Community Value.  However, the developers of Jacksons Row have decided to withdraw their planning application.

It is unlikely that this planning application has been completely withdrawn and we expect them to come back with a reviewed application in the future.

Other Potential ACV

Representatives from the branch have held meetings with Manchester City council to discuss a list of pubs that we feel are in areas of possible development.

The council leaders have seen the list and have not, as yet, raised any objections. There was some surprise that other pubs, such as the Peveril of the Peak and Briton’s protection (and others), were not on the list for consideration as ACV.

However, we believe that as these are listed pubs, their protection is almost guaranteed.  Additionally, the recent passage of the Neighbourhood Planning bill (which should gain Royal Assent prior to the House dissolving), gives pubs more protection from redevelopment.

ACV ‘Block Booking’

Manchester City Council have conifirmed that there are no legal issues for CAMRA to submit a “block booking” of ACV.  This would save the time of both the council and CAMRA.  The pubs being considered in this bulk submission are:

  • Angel, 6 Angel Street
  • Band on the Wall, 25 Swan Street
  • Bar Fringe, 8 Swan Street
  • Burton Arms, 31 Swan Street
  • The City, 133 Oldham Street
  • The Font, 7-9 new Wakefield Street
  • Grand Central, 80 Oxford Street
  • Jolly Angler, 47 Ducie Street
  • Joshua Brooks, 106 Princess Street
  • Old Nags Head, 19 Jacksons Row
  • Seven Oaks, 5 Nicholas Street
  • Smithfield Market Tavern, 37 Swan Street
  • Thirsty Scholar, 50 new Wakefield Street
  • Unicorn, 26 Church Street
  • Wheatsheaf, 34 Oak Street


Manchester Beer Audit 2017

Saturday 20th May is the day to cement Manchester’s place as the premier city of the UK beer scene

The Manchester Beer Audit will set out to record every draught beer (cask and keg) on sale in the pubs of and bars of the City of Manchester on Saturday 20th May.

Visit the webpage at to see what we have planned and also how you can be involved in this event.


Festival orders beer!

We have some very exciting news from Central Manchester CAMRA HQ!

After a number of recent planning meetings and healthy discussion, the Branch have started ordering our beer for the festival.

We’ve put a lot of thought into what beers to order and we think you’ll enjoy the choices we’ve made.

Confirmed orders include beer from local Manchester breweries such as Marble and Alphabet, but this year we’re also looking forward to having beers from outside the branch boundary.

With beers from further afield such as Hawkshead and Tiny Rebel, we are sure to have something for every taste.

We’ll get a full beer list up on the website as soon as we can officially confirm.