North Bedfordshire’s branch of CAMRA has announced that Dan Veal will be their new chairman, and he’s not the bearded, sandal wearing old man you’d expect.
26-year-old Dan Veal has been an active member of the Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), locally and nationally, for a few years now and is already turning heads in his bid to modernise the group that saved British beer.
He’s a regular voice in trade and national media, speaking on behalf of young CAMRA members about what CAMRA needs to do to survive another 50 years.
Some may also recognise him as a regular face at many of Bedford’s pubs. Always drinking responsibly but always championing great beer and those who serve it.
Nationally he’s campaigned both with and against CAMRA in what many believe are outdated views. The most recent being the refusal by members to bring keg craft beer into the brews they seek to protect.
“CAMRA does need to adapt or die”, said Dan. “It needs to recognise that more and more young people are enjoying great craft beers in kegs. We can’t ignore that.”
The national vote in 2018, to widen CAMRA’s campaign focus was close. Dan calls it “CAMRA’s Brexit.”
75% of CAMRA’s members needed to vote in favour of an addition to their articles of association which would widen the group’s remit to ‘represent the interests of all pubgoers, beer, cider and perry drinkers’.
Just 72.6% voted for the change.
Asking Dan about the vote he sounds disappointed but is pragmatic in that he believes the fight to modernise the 50-year-old organisation isn’t over.
“Locally we can influence change from inside. North Beds CAMRA came up with the young person’s pub of the year, recognising pubs that are serving great beers to a younger generation.
“The Bear won it first, this year it was The Rose. Now CAMRA are interested in taking on this award category nationally and rolling it out across the UK.
“Bedford (Borough) is a hotspot at the moment, and with younger beer lovers in the area being so active, and so many excellent pubs here, a lot of the modernisation of CAMRA could come from Bedford.”
But, Dan not alone in is bid for Bedford to influence CAMRA nationally. He told us exclusively that even if the national group aren’t embracing craft beer just yet, they’ll do it locally.
“Our new beer festival organiser is currently looking at a keg craft beer bar at this year’s Bedford Beer Festival in the autumn”, he says.