All Wales regional meeting

All Wales regional meeting

Chris Charters

Mon, 19 Nov, 10:42 (23 hours ago)
Hello All
We are due an all Wales regional meeting in January. Which after the last regional meeting was proposed to be held at the Bridge End Inn Ruabon Wrexham.

I have been looking at dates in January, avoiding dates that coincide with recovery from Christmas New Year, and other events e.g. Manchester Beer & Cider Festival.

From this it looks like January is not so good, and the nearest date would be, Saturday 2nd February as the most convenient.

If I have missed anything of importance happening this date, please let me know, with an alternative date?

Are there any items you wish to include in the agenda?

Please let me know as soon as you can, and I will press the “Go Button”

Thanks and best wishes

Chris Charters
CAMRA Welsh Director
47 Gwernyfed Avenue, Three Cocks, Brecon, Powys LD3 0RT
Phone 01497847638 m 07531658062

Saturday 27th October

Saturday 27th October – Wales Regional Pub Of The Year 2018 presentation to the Bridge End Inn, Ruabon at 4pm. Presentation by the CAMRA Regional Director, Wales.Come along and applaud this winning pub in our own branch area and fingers crossed they may win the CAMRA National Pub Of The Year.

Llanerch Inn, Llandrindod Wells.

                      MINUTES of CAMRA WALES REGIONAL MEETING 27/1/2018.  

                                                Llanerch Inn, Llandrindod Wells.   


Present: Chris Charters (Radnorshire, Welsh Director, Chair), Tristan Robinson, A N Other (Bae Ceredigion), Malcolm James, Rick Zaple (Cardiff), Keith Johnson, Rose Morrison (Carmarthen), Cris Bartlett, Martyn Groucutt (Gwent), Dave Gill (Radnorshire, Deputy Welsh Director, Minutes), Paul James, Debra White (Swansea)


Apologies: Ian Saunders (Abercolwyn), Brian Francis, Keith Jenkins, John Lamb (Cardiff), Elved Gray-Jones (Chester & South Clwyd, North Wales AO), Gerry Watkins (Gwent), Paul Burgess (Mid Glamorgan), John Hopkins (Neath – Port Talbot), Mike Porter (Pembrokeshire), Gerwyn Thomas (VoG & Bridgend)


1.Introductions. Members introduced themselves.


  1. Minutes from last meeting. Agreed as a true record.


3.Matters arising.

3.1  A meeting at the Senedd, Cardiff on Tuesday 30th January to be attended by C.C.

Jointly organized by CAMRA and the new “All party group on food and drink”.

ACV progress. The group are looking to push this matter through the Welsh Assembly asap.

Update. We spoke to several AM’s at the event who are in favour of new legislation that is something like England, to include village halls etc. and will progress the matter.


3.2  COBAS. Ongoing. If anyone is interested in attending they should e-mail C.C.


3.3  Regional competitions.  Information on CPOY and POY sent with original agenda to advise on entry dates. Paul James raised a question on a results embargo. Answer is, locally no problem . Anything not clear refer to RCC. or Wales Director.


3.4  GBG 2019. Branches in various stages with results. Deadline to have all information uploaded from What Pub and signed off is 5 March 2018.


  1. Meeting with NE member. Was to explain the Revitalization results. This postponed and re- scheduled with Ian Hill on 10 March 2018. Details to be confirmed. Need to find a venue and time. CC to check.


  1. Directors report.

5.1  A copy was sent out with the minutes and is also reproduced at Appendix 1.


5.2  C.C.  had e-mail address problems so has created, which seems to be working. The Wales Regional Director address supplied by CAMRA is variable.

Social media contact not an option.


5.3  Taxation R.Z. commented about tax on strong cider (White lightening) which was increased in the budget. This is not under Welsh Government control but a matter for Westminster.

CAMRA proposes to get a new definition of Real Cider by taking regard of the juice content.

To control cheap high alcohol drinks a new 50p / unit tax is proposed by the Welsh government. This would be applicable only to supermarkets and cheap booze retailers. Although the 50p was not expected to change prices paid in pubs, it could be the “thin edge of the wedge” in future.

5.4  Deputy Director Wales. The vacant position was addressed. RZ suggested that all vacancies are notified to all the Welsh branches in future. With no other nominations Dave Gill was ratified.


  1. Welsh language membership forms.

6.1  At a previous NE/RD meeting C.C. was advised that due to lack of funding a printed leaflet in Welsh was not possible but an online version can be produced.

There is a new leaflet being designed which will be translated into Welsh for the online version.

An approach to the Welsh government for a grant to do the translation was suggested.

A heated discussion followed on printing small quantities in Welsh or a bi-lingual leaflet with totally separate pages or mixed in together pages, if a leaflet is ever produced. C.C. suggested he contact CAMRA for a flyer in Welsh directing people to the internet.


6.2  Postcodes. There was a discussion about members being put into the wrong branch due to their postcode.


  1. Situations Vacant.

These are area organizer (West Wales) and Champion beer of Wales organizer.

On RZ comments, CC will advise all branches.


  1. Brewery Liaison. As Brian Francis did not attend or send a report, no further action was possible.


  1. Cider report. Was attached with the agenda and also reproduced at Appendix 2.


  1. Drinkers Voice.

Concerns were raised from Gwent branch about the involvement of CAMRA with the organization, on political grounds. There are possibly better alternatives that should have our backing. A suggestion was made to ask for more details and greater clarification.

Attachment 1 shows a later e-mail with the concerns of Martyn Groucutt.



At the moment there are bars, pumps and other festival equipment in a storage that has to be vacated by Easter 2018. These items are available to all branches. A new storage area is needed and becoming urgent. Attachment 2 shows 8 bars x 8 ft. erected,   Attachment 3 shows all 8 bars in a van for transportation.


  1. Branch reports.

12.1  Some were attached with the agenda and are reproduced below at Appendix A. Swansea and Bae Ceredigion were verbally given with input from Cardiff about their 2018 beer festival.

Part of the Radnorshire report was that Watson’s Ale House micropub recently opened in Knighton.

An update for excursion purposes. At weekends they open at 12 noon and are 20 miles by road or 6 stops by train away from Arvon Ale House in Llandrindod. with its 4.00 pm. weekend opening hours.

No reports were submitted from, Abercolwyn, Chester & South Clwyd, Gwynedd A Mon,  Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire, Teifi Valley (sub branch), and Vale of Clwyd.


12.2  A discussion about festivals in Wales resulted in C.C. to contact Duncan re. 2019 new GBBF Wales details.


  1. AOB.

13.1 Young person’s branch trying to be started in Cardiff.


13.2  South East Wales Beer Necessities magazine self-supporting from the start and going well enough to give donations to branches for campaigning purposes.


13.3 Rhys Jones legacy to CAMRA to be clarified by Bae Ceredigion branch.


  1. DVNM. 12th May Cris Bartlett to arrange venue.


Appendix 1 – Directors Report

Since I took over from Duncan some three month ago I certainly have had a vertical learning curve to the position of RD Wales.

My first function with only a few days’ notice was the NE/RD meeting in Newcastle upon Tyne, and I realised this was a whole new level with CAMRA.


For anyone that thinks I have been ignoring them, this is not the case I have also had problems, with emails.

There is a group email system This caused me the most problems to get it to recognise me, and this has only been achieved this last week with the assistance of Jak from the CAMRA IT department.

Since I changed up to Windows 10 my email address, which I have had since updating from an abacus and pigeons back in the late 1980s has not been working very well. After receiving 250 emails a “box” full of 98% complete rubbish (e.g. Do I won’t a Russian wife, am I getting the best Viagra etc.) stopped me receiving any further mail, until it was emptied. This my email host failed to solve.

In order to resolve these problems, I broadcast to all, my new email,

together with my other contact details, phones land line, mobile, snail mail address, and skype. But I understand in spite of this some people have had problems in contacting me. Hopefully now with CAMRA sorting out, and with my new personal email there will not be any further difficulties.

Meeting at Welsh Assembly

On 30th of this month there is a meeting at the WAG where we will be discussing the progress of the ACV’s to protect pub and other local disappearing community services.

Following the Autumn budget the chancellor, attempt to control youngsters drinking “White Cider” which is a chemically produced high acholic drink sold mainly in supermarkets at very cheap rates. He raised the tax band of 7.5% to 8,5% ABV beverages. The WAG is proposing to put 50p per unit on acholic drinks giving a double “Whammy”. Whilst we agree youngsters obtaining and drinking these “White Ciders” does need controlling, this increase in duty is not the way to do it.

Raising the duty, and this new proposed 50p per unit, has a blanket effect for the entire drinks industry which we wish to discuss with the WAG.


Chris Charters

CAMRA Welsh Director




Appendix 2


Cider Pub of the Year 2018


If your branch does not currently submit an entry into this competition, please seriously consider doing so.

Remember that CAMRA campaigns for real cider/perry as well as real ale. The competition also provides

another chance for pubs to receive welcome extra publicity.

Cider Pub of the Year

The deadline dates for National Cider Pub of the Year 2018 are as follows: –

  • Branch Winners to their respective Regional Cider Co-Ordinator – 11th March 2018
  • Regional Winners to National Cider Pub of the Year Organiser – 20th May 2018
  • Presentation to National Winner – on or about 1st October 2018

Although not mandatory, entries may stand the best chance of progressing in the competition if the judging criteria used in the later stages are also used at the branch stage.

Please note that entries don’t have to stock a wall of 30+ ciders. It’s quality, not quantity that matters!

The Cider Pub of the Year Procedures Document is on the CAMRA website at The judging form and guidelines, which are used in the later stages of the competition, are appended to this memo.

If a branch has any queries relating to Branch/Regional Cider POTY, they should get in touch with their Regional Cider Co-ordinator.

Chris Charters


CAMRA Wales Cider co-ordinator





Mid Glam Branch

POTY & COTY both chosen at January meeting. Certificates ordered and obtained in readiness for presentations. Dates yet to be set.

  • POTY   Pencelli Hotel, Treorchy.
  • COTY   Real Ale Farm, Gilfach Fargoed


GBG surveying well under way, data inputting to Pubzilla in progress. Expect to complete on time.


Otley Brewery- change of brewer. Reports of rather dramatic beer flavour profile drifts, not for the better. Observations invited.


Grey Trees Brewery seeking larger premises, to include shop and tap room.


Well Drawn Brewery

4.4% Gold (core range) 4.0% Narwhale Blonde (seasonal). IPA & red ale planned. Brewery shop planned.


Lines Brewery.

Recruiting a sales rep, anticipating doubling of turnover in 2018.

Hop Flux One is an acidified IPA available soon, first of 2018 seasonals.

Tap takeover at Devonshire Cat, Sheffield planned for 31st January.


Latest branch membership total 388.



Paul Burgess


Neath & Port Talbot (NPT) Sub Branch Report

Wales Regional Meeting 27th January 2018

  • POTY
    • The NPT 2018 POTY competition was opened up to include members of both NPT and Swansea. Reciprocally, the Swansea 2018 POTY competition invited NPT members to participate. This initiative was a collaborative approach by both NPT and Swansea committee members to increase the number of participants and interest in the competition, plus maintain and increase integration between the branches.
    • NPT POTY & Cider POTY Finalist pubs were selected at the November branch meeting. These were (for both POTY and Cider POTY):
      • Ancient Briton (Pen y Cae)
      • Corner House (Ystalyera)
      • Pontardawe Inn.
    • POTY Joint Vote meeting undertaken at Hogarths, Swansea on 15th Winners of NPT competitions were:
      • POTY: Ancient Briton
      • Cider POTY: Ancient Briton
    • GBG 2019
      • At November branch meeting, GBG 2019 pubs shortlist (13 pubs) drawn up and allocated to specific branch members for detailed surveying for the final list of entries to be decided.
      • On 15th January, at Hogarths, Swansea, the final list of entries were decided (10 entries in total: Ancient Briton plus 9 NPT borough pubs).
      • NPT Brewery details confirmed for 2019 GBG.


  • Membership currently stands at 202


  • A number of NPT members joined Swansea members for the Swansea Christmas ‘Walkabout’


  • NPT ‘Post Christmas Walkabout’ saw a number of Swansea members join NPT members enjoying the real ales available in Port Talbot


  • 2 x social events organised for forthcoming 6Nations rugby tournament.




Branch Report – January 2018



Despite frequent efforts, the branch continues to get very little or no response from emails and social media messages to engage with the committee, although the branch’s Facebook page is well read.

We have had no response to requests for young members to become more active. This is unsurprising as fewer than 10% (about 30) of our members are under the age of 30, and not having any Universities in the branch greatly hampers any targeted recruitment efforts. We have Barry and Bridgend colleges, but many of their students are under 18 and I’m not sure we would be welcome on their campuses.

However, we have attempted to engage with members via Social media, inviting them to a Christmas Social walk-about in Cardiff. There was again no response from branch members.

CAMRA Revitalisation Project

The Branch agreed that it would be wrong to form a collective view on any voting on the Revitalisation Project options, preferring to take an individual approach. Nevertheless, it is notable that some members of the branch committee hold very strong views against an outcome that gives CAMRA’s organisational support to craft beers other than real ale.

Pub- and Club-of-the-Year Judging

The Branch held two away-days to judge the All Wales P-o-t-Y and C-o-t-Y. The first for South Wales, taking in The New Inn and the Real Ale Farm, the second to Mid and North Wales, taking in The Druid Inn, Rhyl Sports & Social Club and The Mold Ale House, a round trip of about 400 miles.

Scoring was very close in a couple of cases but, for us, the Druid Inn and The Real Ale Farm stood out.

Good Beer Guide Selections

The committee is currently selecting pubs and clubs for the GBG, with recent meetings poring over beer scoring averages. It’s notable that many of the usual suspects are again in the running for the top awards, but by no means all of them.

Fortunately, What Pub is well monitored by a couple of our committee members, so outcomes are quite accurate and only the close calls are hotly debated.

Pub Openings and Closures

The branch has enjoyed an uplifting few months, with one new pub and pub re-openings outnumbering pub closures. The new pub is No.1 Town Hall Square in Cowbridge, a sister pub to the Coach, which is a regular GBG entry. The committee intends to compile an article highlighting this trend for the next Beer Necessities and possibly What’s Brewing.

No Sign Bar, 56 Wind Street Swansea SA1 1EG; 1pm Saturday 21st July 2018

Campaign for Real Ale Ltd

Cyfarfod Rhanbarthol Cymru

South & West areas Regional Meeting

No Sign Bar, 56 Wind Street Swansea SA1 1EG; 1pm Saturday 21st July 2018



  1. Apologies for absence


  1. Minutes of previous meeting

Matters arising

  1. Welsh language membership forms (Offer of translation for inclusion on web site)
  2. 3 Taxation
  3. Situations Vacant
  4. Welsh Directors Report


  1. Welsh national super festivals


  1. Bottled Beer competition (Brian)


  1. CAMRA reps from each parliamentary constituency in wales to go to lobby in Westminster 30/10/2018


  1. Competitions items (Chris Gillette)


  1. Festival bar equipment


  1. Cider report (see attached)


  1. Kate monthly article of 500 words on ale & cider for food and drinks section of Shiresmagazin
  2. Branch Reports – matters arising
  3. AOB
  4. DVNM. Do you wish to split the meetings to North Wales, South Wales, and an annual one for all Wales, which has been a previous pattern.





Welsh Branch Reports

















Jamie Ayres Teifi Valley Branch

I’ll be looking at updating all of the Pubzilla entries over the next month or so when I’m not covering summer holidays at work.

Generally pubs appear to be doing well in the Teifi Valley area. From my own experience and that of other landlords I have spoken to the pub trade is healthy and real ale and cider sales are strong. We have had no further pub closures since the Black Lion in Lampeter in September last year (I believe there is a potentially interested party in that property who would keep it as a pub) and the Lamb of Rhos (a strange situation of a thriving pub that has simply closed its doors for no apparent reason). I have not been able to reach the landlords of The Lamb for comment. In fact, Felinfoel refurbished and reopened one of its properties a few months ago after a relatively long closure (Llwyndafydd) and has also refurbished another just a mile or so away from it (The Black Horse, Pentrecwrt) so despite it not being my favourite brewer it is good to see some long-overdue investment in its estate.

Although not directly related to real ale or cider it might be worth discussing how the recent CO2 issue caused problems across the pub industry.  With my pub I was lucky in that we didn’t quite run out of CO2, but had we ran out it would have had a knock on effect on real ale sales. Real ale drinkers often come in with lager and draught cider drinkers but those draught punters would likely have stayed away taking the real ale drinkers with them. Obviously we were looking at using it as an opportunity to convert the more adventurous ones to real ale! 😉

I’m sure that pubs with far larger turnover of draught stock and those that sell food (also affected by the CO2 shortage) as a primary source of income would have been / were hit a lot harder.










May Cider Month Promotion. Here in Wales we have had an extremely busy cider promotion for May starting with 4 days Mayday Bank Holiday.

The Llandod Ale Trail & Cider Nouveau Festival

The Llandod Ale Trail & Cider Nouveau Festival involved a pub crawl around Llandrindod Wells. All the pubs had a range of different Ciders and Perries 60 in total, all from apples and pears pressed in the 2017 autumn. There was a small problem with the long winter some ciders and perries were not ready, and had restarted fermentation when the weather warmed up, but we had a good range of varieties from all over Wales.


With the weather forecast so good we were looking to a bumper 4 days, with the Festival starting on the Friday evening at the Llanerch Inn with their music night.

It was all go for Saturday, calm sunshine, the pubs ready, even a fun fair turned up, but where were the punters Llandod was like a ghost town, we were waiting for the sage brush to come bowling down the street. Unfortunately Sunday, and Monday followed the same pattern The problem was solved when a group of people turned up on Monday afternoon, to say they were back from Aberystwyth were they had left early due to the seaside being packed with so many visitors you could not move, this was seconded by others returning from the coast, and the late TV news.


So having looked forward to a record breaking May Bank Holiday weekend we were down about a third on previous years.




19th Sunday 20th May saw The Royal Welsh Saturday Agricultural Society Spring Fair

Here we were again in the sheep shearing shed of the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society. But this time we were combined we the beer section of “Drinks Wales” in a large square bar, Buster from Brecon Brewing was representing the ale section of “Drink Wales” with various ales and beers from the smaller brewers in Wales. I was doing similar with Welsh ciders and perries, and also using the opportunity of the Spring Fair to hold the 2018 Welsh CAMRA competition for cider and perry. We were joined by Dave Yates and Kerry his partner from Hereford to assist with the competition, and also learn about how the competition was organised, as we shall be hosting the West Midland Cider and Perry competition at “Beer on the Wye” in July.

The event started at 10.00, and we served the first round at 10.15, then everything went crazy. With five of us serving, such an early start we just managed to keep the queue served. The trade carried on like this until 3.00 in the afternoon. There had been acoustic music on the stage, were normally the shearers demonstrate their skills in denuding sheep.

Then a group with all the noise came on, they were so bad they cleared the shearing shed, but this lull in the proceeding gave us the chance to run the cider and perry competition

Sunday was busy but not to the small degree as Saturday, with three of us serving on the bar we finished at 5.00pm with 5 partly filled bag in boxes left. What a weekend!!!!

Spring bank holiday 4 day event last Bank Holiday Friday 25th Monday 28th May

Welsh Perry and Cider Society Annual Cider & Perry Festival

At Caldicot Castle. We started on the Wednesday. I sorted out all my pop up bars for the event, and once the marquees were up, we set up all the bars. With an addition of a refrigeration trailer for the bottles. Last year the trade on the bottle bar was so busy, although there were fridges the bottle could not rest in there long enough to cool down, so this year all the bottles  were stored in the trailer and put into the display fridges as required this system worked extremely well.

The festival followed its usual pattern with Monday the busiest of all.

So ended May a mostly extremely busy month, with the interest in cider & perry continuing to grow. We sold more gallons and ½ gallons take aways, more interest in making cider and perry, and were could cider & perry be bought

Beer on the Wye

I have been helping Dave Yates with our pop up bars, and supplies of Welsh Cider and Perry. Due to the sad demise of Sally Lavender I was asked to organise the CAMRA 2018 West Midlands Cider and Perry competition, this is the first time the cider competition has been hosted by Beer on the Wye festival. The competition took place on Friday 6th July before the festival fully open to the public. 37 cider and 21 perry entries arrived from the West Midland producers, there was supposed to be 36 judges, but unfortunately only 6 turned up. Although the competition over ran into the opening of the festival by about 3 hours. By this time we had managed to kidnap sufficient people to judge, so the competition progressed in better order to its conclusion.


Looking to the future

I is still a busy time of the year for events and festivals. It is only three weeks away from

We then have another bar the end of July, and a World War I bar in August to celebrate the end of the War 100 year ago


Chris Charters





First my apologies

I am sorry for the minuets of the last meeting. As there was not any one to take the minuets I suggested we could record the proceedings and write them up later. Unfortunately the microphone in the recorder proved to be very directional, so trying to hear one end of the table was very difficult. It missed picking up all attending when we introduced ourselves, and also left us trying to remember, and decipher some of the comments. My thanks to Chris Gillette, and Dave Gill for all the work they put in to sort the problem. Please inspect the minutes we have produced, and contact me with any omissions and corrections. With the problems caused by trying to record the meeting, I shall not be using this method again

Welsh Super Beer & Cider Festival

I understand this has caused confusion, and concern, not only within Wales but also there has been problems within the festivals committee, and the warehouse suppling the festivals equipment.

This is a copy of the relevant section of the NE/RDs Debrief from Barrow in Furness for branches

“Accounts, IT and logistics all reported to Ken who was clearly getting to grips with the unacceptable service successive festivals were receiving from the warehouse. We acknowledged with the assistance of Graham Donning’s assembled photographs the lamentable condition in which some festivals returned their equipment, in some cases badly packaged to facilitate damage in transit. Festivals needed to organise enough staff and enough time for orderly take down, including washing and cleaning routines. Warehouse failings should now be escalated via RDs to Jill Burder and Jonathan Howarth, with copy to Ken. The festival business plan format was another bone of contention; if the idea had been to make it simple, it seemed to have failed. One regional assessor was reported to be unable to follow it. Via Nik Antona, we’d be inviting business plan designer Terry Lock to the December meeting in Cambridge. Following the GDPR briefing, standard wording was requested for a compliant festival volunteering form enabling consenting volunteers’ details to be shared with organisers of neighbouring festivals.

Members in the North were reported not to share any sense of ownership of, let alone pridein GBBF, concerns about which would now formally be raised via the Festivals Committee. For whom was it intended? Yorkshire brewers perceived it as limited to bitter, best bitter and mild, not the interesting stuff, and the requirement to supply four kils was a barrier to many. News that the current beer ordering team would be standing down was generally welcomed. However, those running brewery bars should be expected to bring their own equipment or pay extra if CAMRA needed in the event to make special arrangements to accommodate them. Frances Lock was reported to have asked about the attendance that might be expected at any GBBF (Wales), by comparison with a Cardiff Beer Festival. (The same question as between GBBF (Winter) and a Norwich Beer Festival might have been asked two years ago.) Four volunteers had so far come forward for a GBBF (Wales) committee. Such a festival might or might not materialise”.

I first heard of this several months ago, that an inquiry had been made to hold a large beer & cider festival at The Motor Point Cardiff. This was followed by a very confusing conversation with Frances Lock assuming that that it was The Great Welsh Beer & Cider Festival at The depot, and saying the figures did not add up.

I understand the festivals committee are looking at each country in the UK holding a similar national super beer & cider festival, similar to London GBBF for England, and from this I was asked if I could form a Welsh committee made up from the Welsh branches to run it. To date I have had four volunteers, but nothing else is organised. No business plan etc., etc.

I hope to have further info which we can discuss at the next regional meeting.



Minimum Unit Charge

The Welsh Assembly Cross party group, Brewer, Cider Producers, and pubs had their second meeting, and we heard that the assemble had passed the legislation for M.U.C which is set at 50p unit and will start operating next year.

Assets of Community Value (AVC)

Wales unlike England does not have any protection for its pubs. It has promised legislation to bring in a similar ruling, but unfortunately the Welsh Assembly has still not progressed with setting up this protection






You Gov Survey Reasonable Price for a Pint

You Gov asked more than 40,000 Britons what they considered to be a reasonable price for a pint at the pub.

Brits think it is “reasonable” to pay £3.00 for a pint.

I was contacted by BBC Wales Radio, to give an interview, and Shire Magazine for an article for their food and drinks section.

I totally agree with the findings of You Gov, and over my experience of being a third generation licensee have found that if reasonable prices are charged customers will buy more, so increasing the sales, and profit. If the prices charged are high the customers feels “ripped off”, may have one drink, drink it very slowly, look for another reasonably priced bar, or in the case of an event smuggle in their own drink. But the expensive bar will lose out

The survey did not specify whether it was a pint of beer or cider, but on inquiring it could be either.




Chris Charters CAMRA Welsh Director

Hello All

The CAMRA festivals committee are planning some national super festivals.

One of which is proposed in Cardiff 2019.

They have contacted me to liaise, and form a Welsh Committee to set up the festival committee to be made up from members of the Welsh branches.

I have looked into the positions required to make up the committee and produced the following, but other positions may be required as we progress:-

Festival Chairman

Deputy Festival Chairman

Staffing Officer



Marketing and Publicity

Beer and Breweries Liaison

Cider Perry

Foreign Beer



Stalls Catering & Liaison

I should be very grateful if you would get back to me, if you or anyone in your branch are able to assist, or offer any help

Thanks and best wishes

Chris Charters

CAMRA Welsh Director

Date: Saturday 21 July, Time: 13:00hrs, Venue: No Sign Bar, Wind St, Swansea

Date: Saturday 21 July, Time: 13:00hrs, Venue: No Sign Bar, Wind St, Swansea
Any items for the agenda to be sent to Chris Charters and me (in case Chris’ email system is playing up).
Similarly could we have your branch reports by the close of play on Monday 9 July please.
Dai Lewis – could you forward this to Simon Oksien please?
Gerwyn – will you be available to resume your role as Rt Hon Sec?

Welsh CAMRA Updates

Welsh CAMRA Updates

Situation Vacant

From the Regional meeting, last Saturday I agreed I would contact all the Welsh branches to post the situations vacant:

The position of Area Organiser for West Wales

There are several BLO opportunities available

Bar Equipment in need of new Home!!!!1

I have festival bar equipment available for you to borrow, which is used at several beer and cider events though out the year it consists of: –

64ft of bars of 8 x 8ft sections which fold down to 8 sections 8ft x 2ft x 3ins of pop up bars. (see attached pics of bars assembled at Beer on the Wye, and packed for transport)

15 hand pumps

Flash cooler

In line air pumps and fittings

Wooden casks, and fittings for dispensing beer from the wood (see pics of casks in opperaion)

But where it is stored is being taken over, and I have till Easter to find it a new home.

I live in a flat so cannot store it at my home.

If anyone has or knows of a place where the equipment can be kept and available for beer & cider festivals I should be grateful if you would let me know.

Otherwise I will have to dispose of it



The Revitalisation Project

Please pass onto your members so I can get an idea of attendance.

Item 4 which was postponed from the agenda at the last Wales Regional meeting, due to there not being a NE member available, is now taking place: –

Saturday 10th of March at 1:00 pm Llanerch Inn, Llandrindod Wells LD1 6BZ

Ian Hill from the NE who was the RD Wales before Ian Sanders, is presenting the programme of recommended changes to CAMRA’s Articles of Association.

He will also provide you with the opportunity to question directly about these changes.

Each and every member will have the chance to vote on these recommended changes, even if they do not attend CAMRA’s Members’ Weekend

When talking to Ian Hill who said he would like the meeting to be in mid Wales, hopefully attracting members from north and south Wales. I suggested a venue in Brecon, Llandod, or Newtown, and Llandod was chosen. Not knowing how many member would attend I chose the Llanerch, as it is a flexible, mid-way venue. There is real ale and cider at the Llanerch, as with several other pubs in Llandod including the Arvon.

Llanrdindod Wells has good public transport both Rail, through the Mid Wales Line, and bus services including the T4 from Cardiff to Newtown.

The letter from St Albans asked members to RSVP.

To date I have not received confirmation of any attendance: –

Please tell me if you are coming so I can organise a suitable sized venue Please RSVP RSVP RSVP

If you are not able to attend this event, there may be another briefing taking place in a neighbouring region. You can find the full schedule of briefings on the CAMRA events page.


More detail on Revitalisation, the recommended changes and the voting process can also be found on the website.


Visit the Revitalisation Decision website


You will have the opportunity to vote on the recommendations at CAMRA’s Members’ Weekend, AGM and Conference taking place in Coventry from 20-22 April. To register to attend the weekend, please visit the CAMRA AGM website.


If you are not able to attend the weekend, you will also be able to vote by proxy online or by postal vote prior to the weekend.


Register for the Members’ Weekend, AGM & Conference


Forth coming Events


Llandrindod Wells Ale Trail & Cider Nouveau Festival

Friday 4th – Monday 7th May


Radnorshire is revamping its Mayday Ale and Cider weekend


After two years, successful festivals at the Llandrindod Wells Pavilion (before the council sold it), and last year’s double event at the Con Club, and Llanerch, it is now planned to include other good ale pubs in Llandod to have an Ale trail. Also, the Apple committee of CAMRA are looking to promote the new seasons cider and perry that was pressed back in October 2017.


So, Cider Nouveau for Mayday was created


It is in the early stages of setting up at the present time, but will keep all posted, and everyone welcome.

Royal Welsh Agricultural Show Spring Fair

Saturday 19th – Sunday 20th May


Inconjunction with SIBA, WPCS, and Drinks Wales. We shall have bars at the RWAS Spring Fair.


This is the third year we have attended. Buster from Brecon Brewery and SIBA chairman represents the small brewers of Wales, with a selection of their ales in cask and bottles. I shall be doing similar for the Cider and Perry producers. We also promote the professional bodies of CAMRA, SIBA, WPCS, and the Welsh government’s umbrella organisation Drinks Wales.


With an expanded food and drink quarter there are also several other small breweries and cider producers who have their own stands, but they normally only give samples for take away orders.

There is an array of street food stalls and producers selling all manner of delicacies and delights

An action-packed programme of entertainment, live music, livestock and horses on display,


Keeping up to date


I will try to keep you up dated with news and events that affect us in Wales.


If you have anything you would wish to raise, or promote, please give me a call.


I will also pass it to Hywel for his Welsh web site



Chris Charters


CAMRA Welsh Director
CAMRA Wales Cider co-ordinator

47 Gwernyfed Avenue, Three Cocks, Brecon, Powys LD3 0RT


Phone 01497847638 m 07531658062

Skype chrischarters1



Cardiff Beer Cider Festival GWBCF


Thursday 21st – Saturday 23rd September saw the Cardiff GWBCF at The Depot, Dumballs Road, Cardiff.


Alex Simmer the cider maker from Llanblethian Orchards was the chairman and organised the event. He had 60 ciders, and perries mainly from Wales, but a small selection from the Manchester area, and two ciders, a perry, and a pyder from Waulkmill Dumfries and Galloway.


There were also nine Street Food Vendors, varying from middle eastern falafels to a hog roast.

The entertainment provided a wide selection from Morris Dancers, Welsh Male Voice Choir, and the usual groups.


The numbers were down on last year, but it made a profit and was successful


The Hopbunker Cardiff


The Hopbunker opposite the Castle in Cardiff won the Welsh Cider Pub of the Year award.

With a celebratory evening on Thursday 19th October I presented their certificate and joined in the enjoyable festivities of an excellent buffet and an evening of congratulatory entertainment.


Bulmer’s real cider


Further to my discovering 3off 10lts bag in boxes of Bulmer’s cider at Beer on the Wye, at this point I believed they had been the Bulmer’s Cider Museum in Hereford which is a separate organisation, and not owned by Heineken.


On making further inquiries I found that H.P.Bulmer’s section of Heineken had a Research & development department on the site of the old Bulmer’s cider mill in Hereford, which was run by Dr Amalka Woodall. She was very helpful, and offered me a visit to her R&D department which I readily agreed to.


Tuesday 14th November arrived, and I meet Dr Amalka Woodall she has a laboratory which would make the small cider producer green with envy. It has all the equipment for producing small batches of cider and perry; washer, scratter, tradition square press, fermentation tanks. But all is measured, weighed the type of apple and its origin noted. The yeast used, and a strict check on temperature and the many other changes that take place during fermentation, it is then matured, some in oak casks. It can then be racked of and put into bag & boxes for tasting, or be pasteurised, may have garbage throw in it carbonated, and off for tasting.

They basics of the research is checking on the individual apples to see what sort of cider they produce, strength, flavour, the effects of blending before, and after production. Anything you can think of doing with an apple they do.

When they produce one they believe could be a good seller they pass it to the marketing & sales department and were it could become one of the Bulmer’s portfolio.

I am pleased to say that they are looking to get back into unadulterated real cider at the present time.


Cellar Door


The Cellar Door, the first micro pub in Newport, Gwent, finally opened in the middle of November it has 8 changing Ciders & Perries, and several bottles, and cans.

There is still work to do complete the micro pub. a second bar, toilet, finish the decorations and tidy up. Paul is opening Wednesday to Sunday mid-afternoon till 11ish.


It is well worth a visit and easy to find. Out of Newport Railway Station turn right over the railway bridge past Tesco on left 3 doors up on the left.


It is early days for The Cellar Door, so Paul is running a market research programme of the drinks people go for, the opening times, and other points to satisfy the customers.



Cider Bar Medieval Ship Newport


From a customer’s inquiry at the Cellar Door we were asked if we could provide a cider bar together with other food, and craft stalls, to promote the Medieval ship that was discovered in the mud of Usk estuary at Newport. This is a programme similar to the “Mary Rose” were an old wooden boat is being restored from a wreck preserved in mud. The venue was a unit at an industrial estate, were the timbers from the ship are removed from hull treated, and freeze dried. When all timbers have been preserved, the ship will be put back together and be displayed.


It was hoped the Festive Fair would bring in the general public to see the progress of the restoration, and also sell our wares to help the funds. Unfortunately, being an industrial unit there wasn’t any heating, it was a freezing cold day and to allow people entrance, the roller shutter door had to stay open. The only thing we sold was mulled cider, and took a total of £15.00. Not the best of days


It was the first event they had tried, and we suggested it would be better at a warmer time of the year. The work that is being carried out, and the history of the ship could be of interest to lots of people, and an event to promote with organise entertainment related to the medieval ship with an entrance fee, could raise funds.


For anyone interested: –


Medieval Ship 20, Queensway Meadows Industrial Estate, Estuary Rd, Newport NP19 4SP








Joint Festivals


Taking in the experience I have had with numerous festivals and events I have said, and asked is this a beer and cider festival with music, or a music festival with beer and cider????


Majority of the events have been a music festival with beer and cider.

On this point, I have been approached by one of the larger event organiser in Wales, but who also organise, and set up festivals in venues all over the UK.

They have seen a large increase in the consumption of real ale, and particularly cider & perry. This has given them some problems with organising, supplies, trying to deal with numerous microbreweries, cider produces, setting up stillage, and dispense.


Having visited a couple of CAMRA beer & cider festivals, they are saying this is the answer to what they are looking for.


We have had a couple of meetings, and I see that working together could be an advantage to us both. CAMRA with all its experience of organising events with numerous ales, ciders, and perries from a large selection of breweries, & Cider producers, together with our knowledge of dispensing the drinks to the customers.


They could offer events with many thousands of bookings attending their events, and would be happy to pay for the service, and hire of equipment. They would be pleased to assist us in marking, advertising, and promotion of our beer & cider festivals together with their large client list.


I can see CAMRA being of great assistance to organising the bars for their event which would also earn money for us, and the advantage to CAMRA would be to introduce real ale, real cider & perry to a new section of society who would not normally attend a CAMRA beer & cider festival.

Also, they would be happy to join with us to promote our events.


Taxes on Cider


The Welsh cider producers are concerned with the potential new taxes. Not only was there the rise in the tax band 7.5% to 8,5% aimed at decreasing the sales of “White Cider” Which is manly stocked by super markets at low prices,

But the Welsh Assembly Government is proposing a charge of 50p per unit on alcoholic products.

Most of the Welsh cider producers agree the description of cider should change, with the juice contents taken in to consideration.


An excellent comment came back from Mike Penney Troggi Cider


“As a doctor (retired) I would agree there is a problem with the sale of high strength cider (white cider) on health grounds and I also have objections to the way modern “factory” cider is produced – pressed juice or reconstituted concentrate heavily fortified with sugar (often referred to, probably erroneously, as chaptalised) then fermented out to 15-16% ABV with alcohol tolerant yeast, then decolourised, and variously doctored and diluted, recolourised, sometimes made cloudy (how odd is that), flavoured and fizzed to produce the various ranges of product. Just about as far away as you can get from a naturally crafted cider. I would be all in favour of linking duty to juice content but of course this would need to be an inverse relationship – the higher the juice content the lower the duty. Years ago, a colleague and myself tested about 30 commercial ciders for juice content and the worst offenders were less than 25% juice.

As the last statement in the HMRC document points out “Many traditional cider makers are small producers making less than 70 hectolitres per year. These producers are exempt from paying any duty at all”. So, in that respect any duty changes will not affect me”


Other comments were that the tax band of 7.5% to 8.5% would not work as it would only need the manufactures of “White Cider” to drop the alcohol level below 7.5% to be free of it.


Most Welsh Cider producer, also have the advantage of The European Protected Geographical Indication status (PGI) will guarantee consumers the confidence they are drinking the genuine Welsh product when they buy Welsh Perry and Welsh Cider.


So with the above it is hoped we can get some progress on resolving the tax and unit charge for “REAL” Cider.


Chris Charters

CAMRA Wales Director

CAMRA Wales Cider co-ordinator

47 Gwernyfed Avenue, Three Cocks, Brecon, Powys LD3 0RT


Skype chrischarters1

First regional meeting of the year, Saturday 27th January

Hello All
We have our first regional meeting of the year, Saturday 27th January, at The Llanerch Inn, Llandrindod Well 1.00pm.
If you have any items you wish to raise, or have put on the agenda, please let me know, together with your branch report.
I will then send you an agenda, directions, and details of public transport to the Llanerch.
The Llanerch normally has four ales, and three cider, and if you wish to eat, I will include the menu.
Any clarification or further info please give me a call, my contact details are below, but if emailing me please use
don’t use the as it does not connect???
Wishing you all a successful New Year, without frustration!!!!!
Chris Charters
CAMRA Wales Dep Director
CAMRA Wales Cider co-ordinator
CAMRA Radnorshire Branch Chairman
Phone 01497847638 m 07531658062
Skype chrischarters1


Welsh Pub/Cub of the Year 2017

As our leader seems to be very busy earning a crust, and because I’m getting nagged from various quarters, I am sending out the above results on Duncan’s behalf.
I’m not sure if I’ve copied in all branch chairs/contacts etc so please forward/cascade to others as you feel fit.
Welsh Club of the Year 2017
The winner is the Real Ale Farm, Gilfach Fargoed, which has retained its title.
Runner-up, is a new challenger, the Esplanade Club, Rhyl.
Welsh Pub of the Year 2017
1st – The Druid Inn, Goginan (the Druid has now been entered into the super-regional round of the UK competition; we wish them good luck)
2nd – The New Inn, Bwlch
3rd – The Mold Ale House
Congratulations to the winners in what were keen contests.
Thanks to the judges, primarily from the Vale of Glamorgan & Bridgend branch with assistance from Chris Charters.
(Chris Gillette)