All posts tagged: camra

Last weekend was the 20th Sussex CAMRA Beer and Cider Festival

A 4 day event held at Hove town hall. A sell out every session, even with 1000 person capacity. Tickets for the Friday evening session sold out with a week on going on sale!

Thirsty drinkers were queueing up eager to taste local ciders and perries, and ones further afield from Herefordshire, Wales and the West country.

I was fortunate enough to be volunteering on the cider and perry stall so it was a treat to get up and close with the ciders, as well as meet the drinkers who enjoyed the different varieties.

Most seemed to know what they wanted, and others we chose for them – there were some great ‘entry’ ciders, like Gwynt Y Ddraig’s Haymaker – a medium at 4.8%, extremely drinkable!

Jackie Johnson who has been the regional cider co-ordinator for Brighton & South Downs CAMRA for the last 6 years did a great job of sourcing a fine selection of perries and ciders from around the country for the festival.

There were 29 ciders and 12 perries on, compared to just 6 barrels of cider 6 years ago. Proof that demand and appreciation of traditional ciders have increased.

My top 3 ciders of the festival

  • Oakwood Cider, East Sussex – Medium 6.4%- Organic, culinary and desert apples. Extra, extra dry with a bit like a cold shower.
  • Montgomery ‘Old Monty’ Cider, Powys – Dry 4.8% – Cider apple varieties. Full of traditional character
  • Gwatkins Stoke Red Cider, Herefordshire – Sweet 7.5% – Single varietal, sumptuous, succulent, full bodied.

If you haven’t been to a cider festival or want to know when the next one is check out our events page.

“Only locals can save the local”

That was the observation of social expert, Dr Rick Muir, when he addressed a meeting held as part of the Pig’s Ear festival on 4 December. Dr Muir is author of the recent Institute of Public Policy Research report, Pubs and places: The social value of community pubs.

The report highlighted the problem of mounting pub closures and the social and economic damage that results. Dr Muir said that some locals could be rescued by effective local action but this meant hard work and often financial commitment by individuals. Although there’s no easy way, there are pubs that have been saved. It also helped, he added, if the local authority was supportive and not willing to see a pub lost to the community. Commenting on Dr Muir’s presentation, John Pardoe, Chairman of the East London and City Branch of the Campaign For Real Ale said, “The great value of this work is that it supports the case for pub preservation with detailed research and clear evidence. We can assert the value of community pubs now with intellectual authority, and have ideas on how to save them.”

This article first appeared in the London Drinker Winter 2010 edition.

It would be an exaggeration to say the pub trade has been restored to full health – but recently the numbers of pubs closing has slowed down.

The figures from the British Beer and pub association (BBPA) shows that 39 boozers are shutting each week. That’s down from 52 a week at the height of the recession. If that pace had been maintained the last pub in Britain would have closed in 2038.

The BBPA says 1013 pubs shut between July and December for a total of 2365 in the whole of last year.

The industry blames the economy, the smkoing ban, tax rises and cheap supermarket booze for its woes.

When you hear publicans like the Bricklayer’s Arms in Putney, London – CAMRA’s London pub of the year twice in threee years – voicing doubts on BBC News 24 about being able to continue to trade, you have to wonder if the Government understand that there are limits to how far they can tax the average drinker.

Ironically, given that the will no doubt use public health as an excuse for the rises, the last thing that the economy needs at present is for people to stop drinking.

Assuming that we can afford to drink it and can find somewhere to drink it, the popularity of real cider is definately growing.

Support your pub!

Enjoy the finest real cider at East Sussex’s best pubs!

This post is based on the 2009 Ale Trail and Cider Rider passport that is given to people who want to participate in the South Downs beer and cider festival every June in Lewes, Sussex.

This information is available so tourists, visitors and even people who live in Sussex can use for their pub outings any time of the year!

The  people who would have used this information would have navigated their way around a series of pubs with character in towns and villages of Sussex. The tour comes with a book that gets stamped like a passport to prove they drank at them all, and the reward? A t-shirt or mug, oh and rosy cheeks! Cheers.


  • Evening Star, 55-56 Surrey Street
  • Greys, 105 Southover Street – Closed October 2012
  • Lord Nelson Inn, 26 Trafalgar Street
  • Sir Charles Napier, 50 Southover Street
  • The Station, 1 Hampstead Road
  • Waggon and Horses, 10 Church Street


  • Ram Inn, The street


  • Brewers Arms, 91 High Street
  • Dorset, 22 Malling Street
  • Elephant and Castle, White Hill
  • Gardeners Arms, 46 Cliffe High Street


  • Stand up inn, 47 high street


  • Jolly Boatman, 133-5 Lewes Road


  • Stanley Arms, 47 Wolseley Road


  • Cock Inn


  • Buckingham Arms, 35-7 Brunswick Road
  • Duke of Wellington, 368 Brighton Road
  • Red Lion, Old Shoreham Road

It’s nice to see that the pub industry was finally recognised earlier this year when in the Summer, Visit England awarded “the great English pub” the award for outstanding contribution to tourism.

The accolade was given to pubs for:

the integral part they play in the fabric of the English way of life and the opputunity they provide for domestic and international visitors to meet local people and enjoy local foods and drink, including real cider.

Research carried out by Visit England revealed that many visitors from overseas put visiting a pub very high on their list of things to do when holidaying in England. It is estimated that over 40% of overseas visitors, around 13  million people popped into a pub in 2007.

As a result of this Visit England formed a partnership with the pub trade magazine, The Publican to create a research web site which lists pubs around the country.

Axe the Beer Tax Logo

Axe the Beer Tax Logo

It’s a shame not everyone is as supportive. Mr Darling’s continuing actions seem to indicate that he does not agree with the pub being an integral part of English life, due to the very heavy taxes he continues to add to pub products, including cider.

Mike Johnson, owner of the Ross-on-Wye Cider and Perry Company at Broome Farm, Peterstow, Herefordshire, is this year’s winner of CAMRA’s prestigious award after a series of glowing nominations from CAMRA members and people within the cider and perry industry. Johnson was singled out particularly for his work in nurturing new talent in the cider world.

One individual who nominated Mike Johnson for the Pomona Award 2009, said:

Mike (Johnson) is a very good cider-maker but the reason why he deserves to win this award is nothing to do with his skill in this respect. In short, the cider and perry community owes Mike a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless dedication to helping encourage new producers to enter the market, even though they are in direct competition with him. This attitude, combined with his interests in ecology and benefitting the local community through holding an annual Cider Festival is reason enough to give Mike this award.’

The Pomona Award is named after the Roman Goddess of apples and is presented by CAMRA to the person, place or thing who has done the most to promote real cider or perry primarily over the previous twelve months and secondarily, where there is no outstanding contender in the last twelve months, for ongoing work.

National Cider and Perry Month takes place in October each year to celebrate the craft industry of real cider and perry production. For more information on the Month, or to find an event near you, please visit