CAMAL was originally founded on 12th November, 1986, by a number of individuals concerned about the poor quality of draught lager available in the UK and the lack of promotion that genuine lagers, wherever brewed, were being given by mainstream breweries and existing beer organisations within the UK. Since then, it had developed globally with members in North America (USA) and Asia (Hong Kong) and, until recently, still retained a handful of memberships in Europe (Germany). Following its formation, regular meetings have been held at selected venues in and around London and, latterly, even further afield, to enjoy authentic lager, meet other members and discuss campaigning issues. Once a year, an Annual General Meeting is held where the year’s campaigning is reviewed and policy changes ratified. As membership has widened, this website is an increasingly important means of exchanging information and imparting the latest campaigning news in combination with, but not supplanting, the yearly newsletters. This publication, regularly produced since the Campaign's inception, seeks to provide information on authentic lager in the UK and report on other beer styles available elsewhere in Europe and around the world.
Its remit has since expanded to encompass all foreign beer styles by supporting those pubs in the UK which specialise in such brews and breweries which give greater prominence to them as well as giving some historical context too. The contribution made by our late founding Chairman, Geoff Broadley, is recognised in the current mantra for CAMAL:
Its enduring mission: to explore all world breweries; to seek out real foreign beers and good continental bars; to broadley go where no beer hunter has been before.
Invariably, CAMAL has organised annual visits to the Continent and around the world in order to sample local beer styles and investigate the beer scene there. Over the years, members have built up a considerable knowledge of the great brewing regions of Europe and beyond. At the same time, CAMAL’s aim is to forge links with local organisations and lend support to maintenance of the indigenous brewing heritage. The resurgence of bières artisanal, commonly (and wrongly) referred to as ‘craft’ ales in the English-speaking world, has accompanied CAMAL’s interest in making direct approaches to brewers and UK importers of lager and other locale beer styles. Members have made the Campaign’s views known by visiting breweries and have attended trade fairs in the capacity of representatives of a consumer organisation. The launch of new authentic lagers and other artisanal beers in the UK has been monitored with interest by members and our Chairman - a former commercial brewer himself - has made it a personal mission to visit every new artisanale London brewery and identify those fulfilling CAMAL's criteria.
CAMAL’s view regarding the ongoing debate regarding so-called 'craft' beers is that all brewing is essentially 'craft'; there can be both good and bad real ales as well as good and bad keg products. In other words, the production of all beer, excluding mass-produced keg products but including real ale and bières artisanal (wherever brewed in the world), is ‘craft’ ale and that the use of terms (such as ‘craft’) solely to describe the new breed of lager and other styles increasingly available in the UK (particularly by proponents of tasty, albeit keg, beers such as those by Bohem, Braybrooke, Calvor's (now owned by Lacon's), Cotswold, Signal, Six O'Clock, Steel City and Utopian) is potentially misleading – in seeking to avoid usage of such terminology, CAMAL seeks to differentiate between these products and 'real' ales by referring to 'craft draught' beer (even 'craught'(!) where a secondary fermentation occurs in the cask or the bottle) and 'craft tap' beers (where pasteurisation in the keg or bottle has occurred). The Campaign therefore aims to support greater appreciation of foreign beer styles where these can be enjoyed alongside, but not to the detriment or diminished availability of, the indigenous beer of the UK, that is, real ale.
^ Proof of CAMAL's mediæval origins!
CURRENT COMMITTEE POSTHOLDERS:
Chairman: Simon Hosking
Treasurer: John Rooth
Membership Secretary: Peter Chutter
Minutes Secretary: Bryn Philpott
Newsletter Editor: Paul Dąbrowski
Without Portfolio: Hugh Armstrong & Sue Hart
In addition, non-Committee posts of Social Secretary (nominal) and Website Manager are held by Paul Dąbrowski and Robert Dąbrowski respectively.
The exchange of rôles between John (ex-Social Secretary (nominal)) and Paul, on a mutually-agreed temporary basis, following the resignation of Tony Lea as Membership Secretary soon after the 2019 AGM - was ratified at the 2021 AGM.
If and when conferred ever again, the rôle of Honorary Auditor would not, as previously, be a Committee post. However, given the increasingly straightforward nature of our finances, this function had been formally rescinded at our 2018 AGM.