Save British Beer

The beer duty escalator was introduced by the last Government in 2008, and is currently in place until 2014/15. It means that beer duty is automatically increased by 2% above inflation every single year which in this year’s budget meant the beer duty on beer rose by 5%. On top of this you are paying 20% VAT, whereas other European countries have a reduced VAT rate for the hospitality industry as they can see how it benefits their economy. As a result, tax on beer has gone up by over 40% since 2008. You now pay over a third of your pint on tax.

In the last few budgets when the chancellor said he is making no changes to tax on beer, he has meant that he is following the previous governments policy where duty is increase by 2% above inflation. In Abingdon, this has meant that pubs that used to charge £3.20 a pint are now having to charge £3.30 a pint since the budget last month.

Any more increases in beer duty will increase the pressure on pubs already struggling to survive and damage the long term ability of the beer and pub sector to continue contributing over £6 billion a year in duty and VAT, and over £21 billion to the UK’s GDP.

You can help persuade the government that this is a bad thing for the UK economy and the national heritage of British cask conditioned beer which is unique to Britain by signing the petition at or read more about it at If 100,000 people sign the petition it will then be debated in the house of commons and have a good chance of being changed. At the moment about 30,000 people have signed it, so it needs a few more to reach the required number.

Save Your Pint - Sign the E-Petition

October Issue of Oxford Drinker Available

Oxford Drinker, Issue 64.The October Issue of The Oxford Drinker, the newsletter of the Oxford branch of CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale) is now available.

You can pick up a free copy from most good pubs in the area. There are currently copies in the Brewery Tap, The White Horse and The Loose Cannon Brewery shop. They should appear in other pubs during the next week (deliveries rely on volunteers to take them to pubs in their spare time).

Articles of interest to Abingdonians in this issue include:

  • Abingdon’s Loose Cannon Brewery
  • Report from Old Anchor Beer Festival
  • Oxford City Pub of The Year shortlist
  • Publication of new Good Beer Guide 2011, including new entries from the Oxford branch area
  • Preview of The Oxford Beer Festival
  • Welcome report from the new Oxford CAMRA branch chairman
  • List of Beer Festivals

If you can’t wait to get a hardcopy, then you can also read it online as a PDF file from the Oxford CAMRA web site

Feb 2010 Issue Oxford Drinker Available

The Oxford CAMRA branch’s newsletter for Feb/March 2010 has now been published. It includes news, articles and information about pubs and breweries in the Oxford and White Horse branch areas.

Free copies can be found in most real ale pubs. In Abingdon this includes Brewery Tap, Stocks Bar, Punchbowl, King’s Head & Bell, Spread Eagle, Nags Head, Broad Face, White Horse, Plough, The Anchor, Cross Keys.

You can also read it online as a PDF at

Oxford Beer Festival 2009

Oxford Beer Festival 2009
It is the Camra Oxford Beer Festival next week in Oxford town hall next week. It runs from Thursday 15th October at 5pm-11pm until Saturday when it closes at 8pm.

There will be around 140 different ales and 20 real ciders and perry’s available. This is a good opportunity to try out beers that may not be available locally, try beers from local breweries and to meet other people who appreciate good beer.

You can find more information including an up to date beer list at the Oxford Camra web site.

A new industry report published this week about Cask Ale says:

…over the last few years, cask beer has seen a remarkable turnaround. It’s now outperforming every other beer style, benefitting from the increasing demand for products with local provenance, natural ingredients and interesting flavours.

Two pubs in Abingdon are awarded entry into the Good Beer Guide 2010

In previous years The Brewery Tap in Abingdon has been able to claim the accolade of being the only Good Beer Guide pub in Abingdon. This year however, it is joined by the Stocks Bar (at the Crown & Thistle Hotel) in the latest edition of the guide which was published last week.

The Brewery Tap has been in the guide for several years being known for consistent good beer quality and a traditional pub environment. The stocks is a well deserving newcomer this year having introduced a large range of real ales and being one of the first pubs in the area to be awarded Camra LocAle status.

The Cherry Tree in Steventon which is about 3 miles South of Abingdon has also made the grade. I’m afraid I don’t get down to Steventon often enough so can’t really comment on this.

Congratulations to them. Entry into the Good Beer Guide can only be achieved by being a good pub that serves good beer.

There were several other pubs in Abingdon on the shortlist this year, but unfortunately the book only has a finite size and the Oxford branch is only allowed a set number of entries for its area. For more information on other pubs in Abingdon, I recommend picking up a copy of the Oxford Drinker (for free at most good pubs in the area) or downloading it from the Oxford Camra web site, which has been doing a series of articles surveying every pub in Abingdon over the last 3 issues.

To find out more details then buy the Good Beer Guide 2010. I have seen copies in Mostly Books [please support your local shops], or it can be bought directly from Camra, or you can buy it at the Oxford Beer Festival between October 15th-17th.

The Good Beer Guide is an annual publication by Camra (Campaign For Real Ale), which was set up to prevent British Beer heritage from being destroyed in the 1970’s by large brewers replacing real ale with bland low quality keg beer and global lager brands. This campaign has been a success, with Britain now having more breweries than any other country, and real ale consumption seeing an increase in an otherwise declining industry and economy.

Entries in the Good Beer Guide are decided by local Camra branch members. A short list is made based upon ratings of beer quality during the year. Camra members can enter ratings for any pubs they visit during the year. The final choice for pubs from the Oxford area are made by a vote from Camra members at one of the monthly Oxford Camra branch meetings. To be in the guide requires a consistent quality of beer throughout the year.

If you want to help influence what pubs go into next year’s edition, then consider joining Camra. If you are already a member then please come along to branch meetings or social events.