CAMRA has been reviewing its beer styles

Friday 10 January 2020

CAMRA has been reviewing its beer styles. These have now been signed off by the National Executive and will be implemented for CAMRA members’ voting from autumn 2020. The purpose of this note is to update you on what is happening. Background Early in 2019, the NE set up a Beer Styles Review Group. It was made up of a mix of people including representatives from Technical Advisory Group, Tasting Panels, Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) Coordinators, Brewery Liaison Advisory Group and industry. The recommendations are based on a number of different sources: • Survey conducted with (but not exclusively) Brewery Liaison Officers (BLOs), Tasting Panel Members, CBOB Coordinators, beer writers and brewers. • An assessment of the beers listed on the Brewery Information System (BIS) • Issues raised by Tasting Panel Chairs and BLOs • A view on how the beer market is changing and what it might look like in a few years’ time Conclusion The overall conclusion was that the market has moved on substantially since the last major changes in CAMRA’s beer styles, which was in 2008, and the current list needs updating. Many beer styles that were not really noticeable on the market a decade ago have become more prominent. The Review Group therefore took time to look at the current list and to decide which styles warranted more attention as well as looking at new ones. The Group were also aware that, although in some categories there were not huge numbers of beers, there were good campaigning reasons to protect and keep the style, e.g. milds. Although it would be easy simply to expand the list of styles and judging categories, the Group were aware of the practicalities pertaining to how the CBOB Competition is run. This means ensuring that there are sufficient beers in any category to give a sensible number of beers to be judged at a regional level but, also, the number of beer festivals available to host a judging. Talking to the CBOB Coordinators, they believed that they can handle another two categories and the new CBOB judging beer style groups will be increased from ten to 12.

The rationale behind the changes and the new styles can be found on the website:

Next Steps Timing Because of the way that CAMRA runs CBOB, there is a delay before the new beer styles can be implemented:

• Spring/Summer 2020: Beers migrated to the new styles on the Brewery Information System (BIS)

• Autumn 2020: CAMRA members vote for Champion Beer of Britain use new styles • 2021: Regional judging with the new styles • 2022: Finals with the new styles

Communication There will be an article in February’s What’s Brewing. It is also intended to issue a media release to the trade to let them know of the changes. In addition, over the next few months, a number of sessions to help communicate the changes are being planned. They all involve beer tastings and are priced to cover the cost.

There is also beer judging training course using the new beer styles on Wednesday afternoon at GBBF Winter. A number of CAMRA’s Trained Trainers are planning to run sessions regionally and we hope to list the details of all sessions. However, in addition, if you wish to set something up locally, you can find their details on this page, so please feel free to contact them. Other The NE agreed to progress with a Lower Alcohol Competition (2.8% and below). NE member, Gary Timmins, is currently investigating a beer festival to host it during 2020. This Competition will use the data collected from Tasting Panels and the members’ votes. Thanks to everyone for their input and support. Best wishes Christine Cryne Chair of the Beer Styles Review Group