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If the rumours are true, and I’ve no reason to believe they aren’t, CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale is making plans to publish a 2022 edition of is best selling Good Beer Guide. Why is this newsworthy? I hear you ask. Well, in case it had escaped your attention, we’re still in the grip of a global pandemic, and the UK is still in the middle of its 3rd National Lockdown. In many cases, certainly here in Kent – origin of the fast becoming, world dominant B.1.1.7 variant of Coronavirus, pubs have been closed since the beginning of November, with no signs of being allowed to reopen until May, at the earliest.

This leaves a number of quite serious hurdles to surmount if an edition of Britain’s top-selling pub guide is to grace the nation’s bookshops, from next autumn; not least of which is how will local CAMRA branches go about surveying and selecting entries. Also, given the devastating effect closure has already had on the licensed trade, how many pubs will be in a financial position to reopen once they’re allowed?
At the beginning of October last year, I wrote a lengthy piece on the difficulties associated with producing such a guide, so I don’t intend on going over them again. What I will say is few people appreciate the effort that goes into the Good Beer Guide, and the sheer volume of work that has to be done before the publication is sent off to the printers and “put to bed,” as they say in the print trade.
Nearly all of this work is unpaid and carried out by branch volunteers. The cynics amongst you might say that as these individuals have nothing else to do (they can’t go to the pub, can they?), they will be quite happy sitting at home, acting as unpaid data in-putters. This misses the point, and what’s more the data the volunteers will be working for is likely to be the most up to date and, given the evolving situation, highly likely to change.
Before going any further, I haven’t actually seen the plans that CAMRA have
for what will be an interim, rather than a full, true to form edition. There is no news of this venture on CAMRA’s official website, although after searching I did find one local CAMRA branch making tentative plans for surveying and selecting potential pubs - virtually?
Instead, I am relying on information published by avid GBG “ticker”and prolific blogger, Retired Martin, on his site of the same name. Martin mentions CAMRA Discourse – a forum I am unable to access now that I’m no longer a CAMRA member, before going on to state that the guide will contain around 3,600 pubsthat are identified as open and serving cask, with a launch planned for late October.
Sales of the guide will inject some much-needed cash into CAMRA’s coffers but, more importantly, will keep the whole Good Beer Guide idea alive. The publication of even an interim guide, will also provide a sense of continuity – an important point to note in what will be the 50thanniversary of CAMRA’s foundation.
Although I am no longer a member, I still have a soft spot for the Campaign, so if the guide does appear next year, I wish the GBG, and CAMRA all the very best.
You can read more about the work that goes into the publication of the Good Beer Guide each year, by clicking on the link, here.

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