A vote at the organisation's AGM and conference this weekend (April 21-22) to widen its remit to act for "all pub-goers and beer, cider and perry drinkers" gained just 72 per cent of the vote and not the 75 per cent needed.

The result means that CAMRA will continue to act as a promotor primarily for real ale and real cider, however there was agreement among the members that beer festivals should not be limited to selling just real ale.

National Director Nik Antona said CAMRA's policy on this was 30 years out of date and it was time for change, comparing the organisation to Kodak, which became irrelevant because it didn't change.

He said: "Festival organisers have already realised the market has changed and I don't want festivals to become irrelevant and experience the 'Kodak effect'.

"We want our festival organisers to attract a wider audience and continue to be successful in a changing market."

Four other "special resolutions," that will change the organisation's objectives, did get voted through, however:

 

  1. To secure the long term future of real ale, real cider and real perry by increasing their quality, availability and popularity
  2. To promote and protect pubs and clubs as social centres as part of the UK's cultural heritage
  3. To increase recognition of the benefits of responsible, moderate social drinking; play a leading role in the provision of information, education and training to all those with an interest in beer, cider and perry of any type
  4. To ensure, where possible, that producers and retailers of beer, cider and perry act in the best interests of the customer.

 

Members also called for new diversity and equality policies; defeated a motion to reduce tax relief for small breweries; agreed a policy that CAMRA members should not demand or expect discounts from pubs and breweries; and removed its former opposition to "cask breathers".

"It's been a very successful and forward looking weekend and it's very positive to see our members voting to approve motions which are designed to be proactive and positive and help position CAMRA as a welcoming and inclusive organisation - aiming to improve consumer experiences, rather than telling people what they should or shouldn't be drinking," said new national chairman Jackie Parker.