CAMRA's new call for publicans to charge less for half-pints is half-cocked.
In next month's issue of Inapub (March 2016) we have an article by the esteemed beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones, in which he looks at the disparity between the cost of a pint of cask ale and that of craft beer.
It's a great feature and you should keep an eye out for it here on the website and in the magazine.
We asked him to write it based on the discovery, at the last Cask Ale Report launch, that all nine reports have shown that the price drinkers think they are paying for a pint of cask far outweighs what they are actually paying.
That's astonishing isn't it?
At a time when the pub industry is struggling; when publicans are faced with rising costs; high business rates and paying a living wage to staff, we are effectively undercharging customers for cask beer – and they haven't even noticed!
It begs the question, why on earth we aren't charging more for beer?
So, this morning (February 25) when a Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA) press release, entitled Make Mine a Fairly Priced Half, landed in my inbox I had to let out a groan of despair.
The good folks of CAMRA it seems are upset that licensees are charging more than half for half a pint of beer.
I'll quote the actual release to explain more:
"The Campaign for Real Ale is urging licensees to charge fairly for half pints of beer after a survey discovered almost 50 per cent of licensees who overcharge are adding between six and 20p to the cost of a half."
Let's remind ourselves that CAMRA is not just about real ale, or even just about beer. Its own manifesto states it is, "an independent, voluntary organisation campaigning for real ale, community pubs and consumer rights."
It has spearheaded the This Pub Matters programme and has campaigned very effectively on behalf of community pubs all over the country.
So why, why, oh why does it want to prevent publicans from gaining revenue where they can?
I've never heard of a consumer backlash against the price of half pints until this whipped-up one.
Those 41 and 50 "extra" pennies on half pints that CAMRA say publicans are charging are valuable, nay vital in some cases, addition to the bottom line that stop the very pubs CAMRA purports to protect from going under.
It makes no sense at all for CAMRA to take this stance.
Never mind half pints – this is half-cocked.