Slough, Windsor & Maidenhead

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

Branch News

Here is the latest news about pubs & breweries in the branch area.

  • PCA fines Heineken Pub Company £2m Sunday 18 October 2020

    Pubs Code Adjudicator Fiona Dickie has fined Star Pubs and Bars £2 million after finding the company seriously and repeatedly breached the legally binding Pubs Code over nearly three years.

    A total of 12 breaches were identified and Pubs Code Adjudicator Fiona Dickie warned that other brewers could face similar actions. She said:

    “The report of my investigation is a game-changer. It demonstrates that the regulator can and will act robustly to protect the rights that Parliament has given to tied tenants.

    “I will be holding discussions with all the companies I regulate following my findings about how they will ensure they are code-compliant.

    “My message is that if anyone previously had any doubts about my resolution to act when I find breaches, they can have no doubt now.

    "She said Star pubs were forced to keep selling Heineken brands, which include Birra Moretti and Symonds cider, despite repeated regulatory interventions and clear arbitration rulings from the PCA.

    Commenting on the announcement that Heineken UK’s pub arm, Star Pubs and Bars, has been fined £2m after being found to have seriously and repeatedly breached the Pubs Code, CAMRA National Chairman Nik Antona said:

    “This is a good and deserved outcome for Star tenants – and a landmark moment for the Pubs Code Adjudicator. We are glad that the PCA has used their financial penalty powers for the first time.

    “We hope this will send a clear message to regulated pub companies that they cannot get away with breaching the Code. In this case, the PCA found repeated breaches of the Code in multiple areas – we want to see further investigations from the PCA to make sure that other regulated pub companies are complying.

    “The pub sector as we know it is currently under threat due to the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, and lack of proper financial support from central Government. Pub companies need to be supporting their tied tenants through this, and at a very minimum this should mean fulfilling their basic obligations under the Code. As we see further local lockdowns and forced closures periods, we are again calling on pub companies to do the right thing and cancel rent for publicans that are unable to trade.

    “We are also looking forward to the publication on the Pubs Code Review, which we hope will expand the enforcement options available to the PCA so that they can act more quickly and decisively to clamp down on abuse of the Code in future.”

  • The ‘Save our Pubs’ campaign Friday 16 October 2020

    Our pubs are under threat and face extinction - without a proper support package from government, our pubs and breweries won't survive another 6 months of COVID restrictions or closures.

    Your email could make all the difference.

    We are now calling on the Government to introduce a proper support package for all pubs and brewers, regardless of if they are closed as part of local restrictions, which includes:

    • Cancellation of the business rates for another year

    • A new wave of grants to support pubs which would be viable were it not for the current restrictions

    • Action to tackle the rents crisis facing the sector

    • A bespoke jobs support scheme that applies to the whole sector

    It is vital that pubs and brewers receive comprehensive support- the future of the sector depends on it. We are asking everyone to sign and share an e-lobby, which will let them email their MPs urging them to take action and ask the Government directly to support pubs, clubs and breweries. You don’t have to be a CAMRA member to take part, so we want to make sure our campaign reaches as many people as possible. You can find it here and we have produced a number of resources that branches can use to promote this campaign.

  • CAMRA releases a new season of the popular podcast Pubs. Pints. People. Friday 2 October 2020

    The Campaign for Real Ale has released a second season of the popular podcast Pubs. Pints. People. which is available to download on Apple Podcast and Spotify.

    Returning to the airwaves on 22 September, season two features fresh interviews, archive dives and beer recipes. Hosts Katie Wiles, Matt Bundy and Ant Fiorillo will be sitting down with leading experts in the industry such as Roger Protz, Jonny Garrett, Natalya Watson, James Finch and more.

    It forms part of the organisation’s new Learn & Discover offering to help beer lovers and pub-goers learn more about their favourite drinks and stay connected to the industry they love. It is free to access for members and non-members alike and has proved incredibly popular since its launch in April 2020.

    The podcast released 20 episodes in its first season on topics ranging from eco-brewing to Belgian brews to pubs surviving lockdown. You can catch up today by visiting https://shows.acast.com/pubspintspeople/

    Coming up this season includes:

    22 September – Britain’s Family Brewers featuring author Roger Protz and Stuart Bateman of Bateman’s Brewery (now live)

    6 October – Low/no alcohol beer, featuring Dry Drinker and Big Drop Brew Co.

    20 October – Beer vs. Cider tasting, featuring Natalya Watson, James Finch and Neil Walker

    3 November - Pubs & Mental Health, featuring Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University and Will Hawke

    17 November – The Science of Beer, featuring Amy Booth at JW Lees and Luke Raven of Ilkley Brewery

    1 December – Micropubs: COVID victim or survivor, featuring the Butcher’s Arms and the Vessel

    15 December – Christmas brews, featuring Jonny Garrett and Gospel Green cider

    Podcast producer Katie Wiles says: “The new podcast has been a fantastic means of staying connected with our members and beer lovers, particularly during the difficult period of pub closures earlier this year. What’s fantastic about beer and pubs is that it’s a topic that gives us a huge amount of scope and material to chat about – from modern brewing methods to diving into CAMRA’s rich 50-year archive. We’ve had some fantastic guests on the show to date and can’t wait to chat with more in season two!”

    To find out more, visit https://camra.org.uk/podcast

  • The Introduction of Curfews for Hospitality Businesses Friday 2 October 2020

    Background

    On 22 September a series of new restrictions were announced, including a curfew for hospitality businesses. The details of this vary slightly across the UK, and have come into force on different days:

    • In England, pubs must be closed completely between the hours of 22.00 and 5.00

    • In Wales, pubs must stop serving alcohol by 22.00 and must be closed completely between 22.20 and 6.00

    • In Scotland, pubs must be closed by 22.00

    • In Northern Ireland, no food or alcohol can be served after 22.30 and pubs must close completely by 23.00

    This curfew places further pressure on the sector by limiting the hours pubs can trade, when they are already under strain because of limits on the number of customers they can serve while maintaining social distancing requirements. Recent data from Public Health England seemed to show that hospitality was not a major source of transmission, and we have been pushing the Government to publish the evidence base behind their decision to implement a curfew.

    A related issue is the potential for large crowds to form outside venues at curfew time. This is something publicans warned of, but under the new regulations there is nothing they can do to prevent it.

    National campaigning

    We have written to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, asking for his Department to urgently publish the evidence behind this decision and to provide pubs with targeted financial support. The letter is appended to this memo and can also be found with our Press Release Here

    Letters have been sent to devolved Governments and related press releases on the restrictions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been issued.

  • Cask Ale Week Tuesday 1 September 2020

    The annual Cask Ale Week is due to take place from Thursday 24th September – Sunday 4th October, and CAMRA has been invited to support this industry-wide initiative to promote cask ale. Cask Ale Week is an independent industry campaign designed to promote cask ale, especially real ale produced by local breweries – and this year is focusing on the message that you can only get fresh cask ale in pubs and clubs. This initiative supports several of our own strategic objectives, increasing pub footfall and supporting those pubs and breweries still offering delivery and takeaway.

  • CAMRA’s advice on getting back to the pub in England Monday 31 August 2020

    As pubs reopen, we’re all looking forward to getting back to our locals, having a pint and enjoying the social aspects of pub going.

    Things are going to look and feel a little different. That’s why we’ve put together our advice on what to expect, and how you can get back to the pub responsibly and safely. Who you can go to the pub with:

    • If you are sitting inside, members of your household and one other household (or support bubble)

    • If you are sitting outside, members of your household and one other household (or support bubble), or you and up to five other people from different households

    What you should expect: • In most circumstances, order and be served at your table

    • To see signs telling you where to go and how to use the pub safely

    • To give some details like your name and a phone number to help with contact tracing

    • For the moment, no live entertainment or loud music.

    • If the weather takes a turn for the worse, you might not be allowed to shelter inside.

    You can help by: • Listening to the staff and following instructions on signs

    • Waiting patiently in queues

    • Washing your hands or using hand sanitising stations - especially when you arrive and leave, or use the toilets

    • Ordering remotely where you can – whether through an app or website

    • Staying in your allocated seating area as much as possible

    • Using contactless payments where possible

    A few do’s and don’ts • Do go back to the pub where you can – pubs need our custom to help them through this difficult time

    • Do plan ahead and book in advance where possible

    • Don’t take your empties back to the bar – for the moment, this isn’t helpful for staff

    • Don’t come to the pub if you, or someone in your household or support bubble has symptoms of COVID-19 – stay at home and follow NHS advice

  • Small Brewers Relief Monday 24 August 2020

    Review of CAMRA’s position on Small Brewers’ Relief - outcomes and next campaigning steps

    Firstly, we would like to thank everyone for being patient while we have reviewed and refreshed our position on Small Brewers’ Relief (SBR). That process has now concluded, and we are sharing the outcomes with you today.

    We decided to review our position in light of the announcement at the end of last month, that the Government intends to reduce the threshold at which the amount of relief would start to taper off from brewers producing 5,000 HL per year, to breweries producing 2,100 HL per year. The Government has not released much more detail on changes that it intends to make but has announced that a further technical consultation will take place later this year.

    Outcomes

    As reported last week, a special meeting of the Campaigns Committee and the Real Ale, Cider and Perry Campaigns Committee was held this week. The purpose of this meeting was to review our position and make recommendations to the National Executive.

    Representatives from SIBA and the Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition were invited to attend, present their stance on the SBR Review, and answer questions from CAMRA attendees. There were a quorate number of National Executive members present at the meeting to agree the recommendations.

    The joint meeting agreed:

    That CAMRA’s stated policy has been to prevent any loss of relief to brewers at the lower end of the Small Brewers’ Relief (SBR) scale, and that we have never supported the lowering of the 5,000HL threshold. That there isn’t enough information available ahead of the technical consultation, especially regarding how the relief curve will be shaped above any lower threshold. Therefore, there is a need to lobby the Government to provide additional information.

    That the need to wait and see if the industry could find consensus over last few years was understandable, but now that the Government has communicated a preference to reduce the lower threshold, this will result in small brewers losing relief, and that we need to adhere to our policy position.

    That the lower threshold should not be pre-determined ahead of the technical consultation and it is right to challenge how and why this threshold has been reduced – CAMRA should support calls for the existing 5,000HL limit to be the starting point for consultation, and for debate to be reopened on the proposed 2,100HL threshold.

    That the position most likely to achieve broad consensus across the majority of the industry is one where the 5,000HL threshold is not changed – and that the industry should try to unify around calls to amend the existing curve and the upper limit in order to support brewers of all sizes.

    Our aim for the technical consultation process should be to mitigate any loss of relief to brewers at the lower end of the SBR scale; to encourage the Government to amend the curve and to raise the upper limit to help larger small brewers.

    That the reforms that we support will not be cost neutral to the Treasury, and that we should persuade the Government that this is the correct approach to take.

    That we will support and promote the Anspach and Hobday petition on the parliament.uk website. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/334066

    Therefore, our refreshed position of Small Brewers’ Relief is:

    CAMRA believes that the Small Brewers’ Relief Scheme is vital to a thriving beer market, and to ensuring choice for consumers. We have always been concerned about the proposal of removing relief from the smallest brewers and maintain that this should not happen without broad industry consensus – which has not been achieved. We do not believe that the Treasury’s intention to increase the scale of production over which the relief is applied by reducing the lower threshold is the correct way to reform Small Brewers’ Relief.

    CAMRA will be joining calls for:

    The Government to publish the evidence of how it arrived at the preferred approach of lowering the point at which a brewery receives the full relief from 5,000HL to 2,100HL.

    The Government to publish the full detail of its preferred approach to taxing small brewers at all levels of production.

    The Government to change its preferred approach and reinstate the 5,000HL threshold up to which a brewery will continue to receive full relief.

    We remain committed to campaigning for an increase in the top threshold for relief to 200,000HL, in line with calls from both SIBA and the Small Brewers Duty Reform Coalition.

    We will not be advocating a specific solution for changing the curve of relief at this stage – only that the curve should be smoothed by increasing the range of production covered through an increase to the top threshold, rather than the reduction of full duty relief at the bottom end of the production scale.

    We remain hopeful that the industry can find agreement on what reforms to the relief curve above the 5,000HL threshold should look like, in order to remove current disincentives to growth, and promote healthy competition, cask beer, and consumer choice.

    We believe in constructive and positive campaigning, and attacking or calling for boycotts of breweries in CAMRA’s name will not be considered appropriate as part of our strategy for campaigning on Small Brewers’ Relief.

  • Vote for the Swan in Clewer Saturday 22 August 2020

    The Swan recently entered The Great British Pub Awards, which this year specifically focused on what pubs have done to keep themselves going and to help the community through lockdown.

    We are really excited to announce that we have been chosen as finalists in the category for 'Keeping the Community Entertained'. There were over 600 entrants across 15 categories, so we're very proud to have made it to the finals.

    Winners will be chosen by public vote, so as you can imagine we are now trying to mobilize as many people as possible to vote for us - which is hopefully where you come in! Voting closes on 26th August, so time is of the essence. Winners will be announced via a live stream event on 24th September.

    Use this link to vote. https://www.theswanwindsor.co.uk/great-british-pub.html