A hero isn’t just the right person; it’s also about being at the right place at the right time. The Campaign for Real Ale, known by the acronym CAMRA, has definitely been a hero for real ale (or cask ale) in the United Kingdom. Back in 1971, CAMRA was founded specifically to fight against the mass market takeover of Britain’s beer scene – advocating instead for continuing the UK tradition of serving up hand-pumped ale in pubs.
In great part because of CAMRA’s efforts, the UK has maintained a culture of cask beer unique to anywhere else in the world – somewhat proven by the old American notion that the English like their beers warm and flat. But times have also changed. The global movement towards “craft beer” has caused people around the world to rethink brewing and beers, including in the UK where beer interested has also surged. The result: The UK’s beer scene is less cut and dry than it used to be. It’s no longer big-name draft lagers versus traditionally-made real ales. You can now find awesome draft ales and independently-made craft lagers and all sorts of beers in between. And suddenly, CAMRA is wondering if it’s still the hero the UK needs it to be.