Around the branch in September

Over the past month many pubs took part in the government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme. I hope that you managed to take advantage of it in some of our pubs. The feedback we have had has been pretty positive although some pubs reported a reduction in diners on non-scheme days. Some pubs have felt that the scheme was enough of a success to continue with similar, self-financed, schemes for a few weeks more.

Pubs reopening

In the last ten days two of our smallest pubs, the Bank, Willingham and the Elm Tree on Orchard Street, have decided that they too can safely reopen for on-sales. There are still a few pubs in our branch area that have yet to do so including our 2020 Pub of the Year, the Live and Let Live on Mawson Road, which continues to sell takeaways only. Others, such as the Ship on Northfield Avenue, are in need of a new tenant before they can reopen.

Many of the pubs that have reopened have done so with reduced opening hours etc. To help you find out which pubs are open and when we are maintaining a “Leaving Lockdown” page on our branch website. The information in it also appears in an Updates box on each pub’s WhatPub entry. Keeping this information up to date is a big challenge for local CAMRA volunteers. You can help by being our eyes and ears and keeping us informed either via WhatPub’s submit updates feature or by email.

Now that pubs have reopened we can once again drink cask ale as nature intended. Have you enjoyed it? Beer scoring is the best way for you to let us know what you thought of the beers you’ve been drinking. Members’ beer scores also influence our Good Beer Guide entry selection. It’s easy to do via WhatPub, either from your phone while you are in the pub or from home afterwards.

Although pubs have reopened Covid-19 remains a threat. Please follow the Covid secure procedures put in place in each pub and continue following the Public Health England guidelines to keep yourselves, fellow pub goers and bar staff safe. It is incredibly important that we don’t get a significant second wave, for many reasons including the long-term survival of our pubs.

Community Champions

Some people and pubs went beyond the call of duty during shutdown. We will be presenting them with Community Champion awards over the next few weeks. We are aware that we may have missed some so the list isn’t closed. If you would like to nominate pubs or individuals for a Community Champion award please email us giving details of who and why.


A month ago I urged you to support CAMRA’s Cheers to Choice petition. It’s aim is to allow the licensees of all tenanted pubs to have the option to boost trade by selling beer and cider from small, local and independent producers. That petition remains active.

This time I have another petition that many of you will be keen to sign. The Treasury has proposed changes to the Small Brewers Relief scheme, a discount on beer duty that has helped provide the wide choice of beer brewed in this country today. The proposed changes would reduce the upper limit for 50% relief from 5,000 hectolitres annual production to 2,100 hectolitres (around 1,000 pints a day). It would be a disincentive to growth and could result in some breweries having to shrink to avoid higher duty rates. A petition against the changes was instigated by the Ansbach and Hobday brewery and is supported by CAMRA and SIBA. CAMRA has more information about the campaign and a poster to display.

Many of you will have followed the long running saga of the redevelopments on Hills Road at the Station Road junction and their impact on the Flying Pig. The saga is about to open a new chapter. A new planning application has been submitted to Cambridge City Council. Any submissions you made about previous applications will not count for this one. You can view and comment on the application online at Greater Cambridge Shared Planning; search with reference: 20/03429/FUL.

City of Pubs

As mentioned last month, Cambridge Beer Festival Winter will not go ahead in November 2020. It isn’t compatible with the social distancing required to combat Covid-19. We also feel that it might impact on pubs at a time when they are gradually getting back on their feet. Instead of a beer festival we are planning Cambridge: City of Pubs, a celebration of our independent and tenanted pubs. These are the ones that we think were hardest hit by the shutdown. We will soon be contacting licensees and hope that City of Pubs will feature over 40 pubs in Cambridge. We are planning for it to run from 13–29 November.

Future events

Although pubs have reopened we can’t yet return to holding our monthly open meetings in them. We continue to hold these as Zoom meetings instead. If you would like to attend our open Zoom meetings please email Steve, our branch secretary.

Tuesday 8 September. Virtual branch open meeting and social from 8. This meeting will be held on Zoom. Please email Steve, our branch secretary, if you’d like to attend.

Tuesday 13 October from 8. Monthly branch open meeting and social.

Tuesday 10 November from 8. Monthly branch open meeting and social.

13–29 November. Cambridge: City of Pubs.

The health of each other, our family, friends and our communities is incredibly important. Please support our NHS and continue to follow the advice given by Public Health England.

Cambridge & District CAMRA

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