Our Annual General Meeting took place on Tuesday 21st November at the University Social Club, Mill Lane, Cambridge.
Chairman Will Smith paid tribute to three CAMRA/Beer Festival stalwarts that we lost during the year:
Gerald Bishop (Ye Gerbish).
All present stood and raised a glass to our absent friends.
Will expressed concern over the number of pubs nationally closing each week, and how our beer duty and VAT are amongst the highest in Europe. Will updated us about the branch magazine, Ale, that we produce and distribute to pubs in our branch area. We need more deliverers so if you can help by delivering to some pubs in your area please contact us, or come along to the next ALE deliverers’ meeting at 8pm on Wednesday 10th January at the Maypole.
In his report membership secretary Paul Treadaway informed us that branch membership stands at 4792 showing a steady increase over the last few years.
Our young members officer Dan Maycock is also the regional young members contact for East Anglia. He continues work to recruit young members and arranges meetings and social events.
Beer festival organiser Bert Kenward updated us about our beer festivals. We had a record attendance at the summer festival this year, over 44,000 people. We didn’t run an Octoberfest, and will move to a new model next year where we run the summer festival as normal, and then a second smaller festival in November. The chairman thanked Bert, who has stood down as beer festival organiser after eight very successful years, and the 400+ volunteers without whom we could not operate. Our next festival is the winter beer festival, open for an extra day this time from Wednesday 17th to Saturday 20th January.
Jerry Ladell is our cider officer and he updated us on the many pubs selling real cider, often locally produced. Swavesey village held its second annual cider and perry festival in July and plans are already afoot for the 2018 festival.
Ali Cook reported on Pubs, Planning, and Politics. During the year branch members lobbied some candidates prior to the General Election using CAMRA’s Manifesto to protect pubs, brewers and cider makers. Members also lobbied some of our MPs in the run-up to the autumn budget using CAMRA’s Keep Pubs Afloat e-mails. We have seen some pubs re-open, and some new pubs open during the year. The Hare & Hounds, Harlton has re-opened its doors after a community group formed to raise finances, buy the pub, renovate it and reopen it. The former Back Street Bistro (before that the White Hart) re-opened as the Petersfield. A new pub, the Station Tavern opened on Station Square. We have made representations on the proposed redevelopments of the Jenny Wren, and the Five Bells on Newmarket Road as we feel neither offer sufficient accommodation for potential licensees.
Want to find out more? Why not come along to an open branch meeting? All members are welcome, you can find out what is happening in our branch area and have a pint. The next meetings are Tuesday 12th December 8pm at the Haymakers, Chesterton and Tuesday 9th January 8pm at the Waterman, Chesterton Road.