Tuesday, 13 August 2013

CAMRA membership doubles as women turn to real ale

  • Women trying real ale grows from 14% to 34% in last three years
  • CAMRA toasts 150,000 members – more than doubled – with 20,000 more women members in last decade
  • There are now more than 1,000 British breweries brewing over 8,000 different real ales
  • Adults trying Real ale grows from 34% to 53% in last three years

Despite overall beer sales in Britain experiencing a steady decline, CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) is today welcoming its 150,000th member as increasing numbers of people, particularly women, try real ale.

Overall UK beer sales have reduced in the last three years by more than 500 million pints whilst real ale has outperformed the market and even enjoyed a small increase in 2011.

In the same period, more than 250 new real ale breweries have set up business in Britain and new market research shows that the number of people* trying real ale has grown from 34% to 53%. Women trying real ale for the first time has grown from 14% to 34% in this short period.

Colin Valentine, CAMRA’s Chairman said, “We’re enjoying a genuine and sustained revival in real ale as it shows the way to success for the UK beer market. There are now more than 1,000 breweries brewing in excess of 8,000* different real ales for consumers to choose from. More people are looking for something brewed locally and with so many breweries in Britain, everybody has a local beer to try. It’s very exciting that more and more women are trying real ale. Our national drink threw off its flat cap image years ago and now it is increasingly seen as a drink for women as well as men. That trend will help put the whole British beer market back on a track towards growth.”

In the last decade CAMRA membership has more than doubled from 65,000 to 150,000, with women now accounting for 22% of the membership. A growth of 20,000 members in the last decade.

Christine Cryne, a member of CAMRA’s National Executive said, “The upsurge in interest in real ale amongst women in the UK is in no small part thanks to the sheer range of beer which is now available. At the Great British Beer Festival this year, there are beers that range from rich and chocolaty Stouts to light and citrusy Golden Ales perfect for summer sipping. It’s not a case of whether you like beer or not - but whether you’ve yet found the right beer for you.”

“I think that women are realising that beer is a lower alcohol option than many other drinks and they are associating real ale with social occasions with friends in pubs. It's been great to see the increased number of women attending beer festivals to try the different flavours that are available. With the Great British Beer Festival having a huge variety of beers, we are making it easier by having third pint stemmed glasses so people can experiment to find their perfect real ale !”

With over 800 Real Ales, Ciders, Perries and international beers available, the Great British Beer Festival can certainly claim to have something for everyone as over 55,000 people are expected to attend in 2013.

Mr Valentine concluded, “The number of breweries is now so great that for the first time ever the Great British Beer Festival will this year feature just one beer from each brewery to give drinkers the chance to try as many as possible all under one roof.”

Just a few of the range of flavours available at the Great British Beer Festival:
  1. Fuller’s, ESB – A complex strong ale with bitter orange marmalade and raisins balanced by some dry bitterness that drinks far too easily. This beer has won CAMRA's Champion Beer of Britain more than once,
  2. Shepherd Neame Whitstable Bay Pale Ale – A refreshing full bodied, fruity ale with grapefruit and pine notes balanced by some bitterness and a malty sweetness.
  3. Titanic, Chocolate and Vanilla Stout – Stouts often have rich flavours of chocolate and coffee, but this one is given a big push in that direction with the addition of real chocolate and Madagascan vanilla. A real sweet treat.
  4. Oakham, Citra – Fans of big, dry, zesty white wines will get along with this extremely hoppy beer from Oakham Brewery. It’s made with a single variety of hop and is as the name would suggest, citrusy, bitter, but dangerously drinkable.
  5. Hog’s Back, A over T – Referred to as a ‘Barley Wine’ thanks to its strength (9% abv) this is a fruity and rich beer with notes of chocolate and raisin. Big, sweet, and deliciously complex this one is worth taking your time over.

The Great British Beer Festival runs from the 13th to the 17th of August at London’s Olympia exhibition centre, for more information visit www.gbbf.org.uk.