Friday, 10 June 2011

BrewDog Neutered By Camra



I see from their blog, that BrewDog plan to take out a dedicated stall at this year's Campaign for Real Ale's, Great British Beer Festival.

Oh, controversial.

Well, not really. It is probably the worst kept secret in the beer world of late that the enfant terribles of their own 'craft' beer world, BrewDog were eager, some might say desperate, to clinch a deal with Camra to have some sort of presence at the festival.

No doubt, BrewDog will claim their presence as a significant staging post and victory on the road to their self proclaimed 'craft' beer revolution. They will trumpet that it brings closer the day that Camra  accept keg with extraneous CO2.

But, don't believe the hype.

The truth is somewhat different from what BrewDog want you to believe.

A close look at the facts shows that things are not what they seem.

BrewDog will be at the GBBF this August but only after they adhered to certain concrete conditions.

As GBBF organiser Mark Holmes says,

"CAMRA buys the beer from the brewery, CAMRA sells the beer to the public, Brewdog are paying for the privilege of having a dedicated bar.
The beer will be in 50l Keykegs. Unfortunately this will limit the amount we can order so it may run out.
The beer will conform to CAMRA's definition of real ale - unpasteurised, unfiltered and with enough viable yeast to allow secondary fermentation (don't worry, we'll be checking...).
It will be served using compressed air, as James says as per the foreign beers. At no point will the beer come into contact with extraneous CO2.
If James (Watt, BrewDog co-owner) wants to work behind the bar he can, as soon as he joins CAMRA, as per the terms of the contract."

It is also believed that "Brewdog have a paid a non-refundable deposit on a contract that requires them to supply cask conditioned ale".  So, if BrewDog don't come up with the goods, as they have already done by not honouring their order for next week's Scottish Real Ale Festival, Camra will trouser a healthy deposit from those Aberdeenshire Ale Anarchists. Awesome!

But, on a wider reading, both parties are winners in this situation and you can expect Camra and BrewDog to claim such. Camra will say that they have neutered  BrewDog by getting them to supply beer that conforms to Camra's definition of what real ale is. Camra apparatchiks will see BrewDog's compliance as confirmation of their, justifiably, rigid beer stance.

BrewDog will, no doubt, spin this as their storming the Beer Bastille moment and their well oiled media machine will go into overdrive. Their growing band of fan boys and girls will lap this up, screeeech yeeha and give the devil fingers salute. Awesome!

It seems that there is a bit of a symbiotic relationship between both parties, with each mutually benefitting from each others existence, but as this case ably demonstrates, BrewDog needs Camra more than Camra needs BrewDog.



  1. To be honest with you it seems like they are both acting like bickering kids! While Brewdog dont do themselves any favours with their hypocritical marketing and WE ARE the saviours of all things beer ect, CAMRA seem to be under the impression that they have this god given right to dictate what every brewer in the land should be doing and prance around like THEY are the saviour of Real Ale and that evrything should be done to accomodate them and for brewers to be at their beck and call.

    Both need to take a long, cold hard look in the mirror and see where their actions are getting them. At the moment niether are winning many friends!