Thank you for logging onto the website of the South Devon Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale. We form a small, but very important part of a large, successful consumer organisation promoting quality and choice of real ale to the public. We have a current membership of about 500 out of a national total of over 132000 and much good work is performed by a small but dedicated group of members.
The area in which we operate extends from Chagford and Moretonhampstead in the north, through Holne and South Brent in the west, down to Thurlestone and Salcombe in the south and then following the coastline past Dartmouth and Kingswear, onto Torbay and as far as Teignmouth. This area encompasses a wide variety of scenery ranging from the golden sands of the South Devon coastline, through rolling countryside of the South Hams to the wilds of parts of Dartmoor. It also includes the heavily populated area of Newton Abbot and Torbay.
Within the branch area there is, as with the scenery, a wide variety of pubs serving an ever increasing range of real ale, much of which is supplied from local breweries. We possess a large number of free houses as opposed to those owned by the large pub chains, with many of them being rural. Due to the area in which they are located many rely heavily on holiday trade, especially in the summer, which enables them to remain an important part of the local community in the winter months, serving their locals as pubs have done for many years.
Our devoted band of members monitor these pubs throughout the year and it is they that nominate and survey the pubs for inclusion in the Good Beer Guide and also vote on the Branch Pub of the Year. There are a large number of very good public houses in the area and although the active members perform an excellent job of monitoring them via our Pub Liaison Officer chain there is always more that could be performed, especially in the more remote parts of South Devon. We are always looking for more active members to help with this.
A good method of promoting real ale, in addition to pubs, is by means of beer festivals and this branch currently organises a festival in September featuring over 100 real ales and several real ciders and perries. We also assist the local breweries by helping at the SIBA beer festival held at Tuckers Maltings each year and in the Ales from Devon tent at the Devon County Show. These are very important links, as many of the aims of CAMRA compliment those of the breweries, even though we are a consumer organisation and they are all businesses.
Amongst all of this 'work' and regular monthly branch meetings we do find time for play and organise many social events throughout the course of the year with many peoples favourite being the trips to breweries, ranging in size from the small 'micro' breweries to some of the large regional breweries. Also many pub crawls are organised as well as visits to other beer festivals around the region.
If you want to find out any more about the South Devon Branch of CAMRA or wish to get involved then please contact myself or any of the other contacts listed on this website. Full details of all of our meetings, social events and forthcoming beer festivals are given in the branch diary. Alternatively come to one of our branch meetings, where you will be made most welcome, or to one of our beer festivals and have a good time.
Chairman, South Devon CAMRA 2011-12.