How Do I Win That Award?
CAMRA gives out several national awards over the year, the most prestigious being:
- Champion Beer Of Britain (CBoB)
- Pub Of The Year (PotY)
- Cider Pub Of The Year (CPotY)
Many people, especially brewers and publicans, wonder how these awards are made. A common question is “How do we enter?” The answer is ~ you don't. All pubs, clubs and breweries are automatically entered. Let me explain the process for each competition. With the exception of Champion Beer of Britain, the first stage of the process is different for each branch, as they decide on the process that serves them best. The processes described for the early stages are those used by the Coventry and District Branch.
CHAMPION BEER OF BRITAIN (CBoB)
The process for this competition is the same across the country. Judging for the competition takes over a year, starting with individual nominations from all CAMRA members who can vote online for their favourite beers from a number of different styles. The current round of voting ended on November Ist 2019.
The styles are: Mild, Bitter, Best Bitter, Strong Bitter, Golden Ale, Speciality, Porter, Stout, Old Ales/Strong Milds, Strong Old Ales/Barley Wines and bottled beers.
Every beer in the country that is regularly brewed should be on the list from which members can vote.
CAMRA has 16 regions across the country, so the top beers of each style from breweries in each region go into the next round.
The West Midlands region has 26 branches/sub-branches and most of them hold beer festivals. Branches are invited to hold the regional round for one of the styles at their festivals. Coventry and District has hosted many of these over the years, and the judges have been invited from a number of backgrounds, including publicans, brewers, politicians, press and the general public.
The winners of these rounds then go on to the national finals.
Porter, Stout, Old Ales/Strong Milds, Strong Old Ales/Barley Wines are judged at the Great British Beer Festival Winter (held in February). For the next three years, this will be held at the New Bingley Hall, Birmingham.
The Champion Bottled Beer final is held at the Good Food Show (Winter), held at the NEC in November.
The Champion Beer of Britain final takes place on the opening day of the Great British Beer Festival in August at Olympia, London.
On the first day of the festival, a team of judges blind taste the contenders for the competition. These are combined with the Champion Winter Beer of Britain category winners to create a shortlist for the final round of judging,
PUB OF THE YEAR (PoTY)
At a branch meeting during the autumn, branch members are asked to nominate their Pub of the Year for both our part of Warwickshire and our part of West Midlands county. A vote is then taken and the top pubs in each county go onto the shortlist. We then ask for volunteer judges to visit all the shortlisted pubs on at least two separate occasions and to mark the pubs against the national guidelines.
- Quality of the beer
- Décor & furnishing
- Cleanliness & service
- Welcome and atmosphere
- Offering a community focus and an atmosphere that aligns with CAMRA's principles
- Overall positive impression
Within CAMRAs West Midlands region, we then have a county round. Each branch within a county provides a judge to visit all the branch winners other than their own. These county winners then go through to the regional round, and are judged by a team of experienced judges from across the region.
We now have 16 regional winners, who then go through to a super-regional round, to select the top four pubs in the country. The judges for the super-regional round are usually regional directors or their appointees.
The names of the top four pubs are then published in What's Brewing. The final choice of Pub of the Year is then decided by the National Executive or their appointees.
CIDER PUB OF THE YEAR (CPoTY)
The branch Cider Pub of The Year is chosen in the same way, except that the criteria are different.
The criteria are:
- Quality/condition of cider/perry
- Promotion/knowledge of the product
- Service and welcome
- Community focus
- Sympathy with CAMRA aims
- Overall value
The regional round is judged by the regional cider co-ordinator (or their representative(s) if desired, who must all judge all pubs). The regional cider co-ordinator can decide how they conduct their Regional Competition. This process within West Midlands region is currently under review. The regional winners are arranged into four groups of four regional winners, and each group is judged by a member of CAMRA’s APPLE Committee or a regional cider co-ordinator. The winners of each of the groups form the finalists, and these are judged by the Chair of APPLE Committee and another member of APPLE committee who has not judged previously in that year’s competition. This national process is also currently under review.
I hope that this helps to explain just how these awards are made. We try and make these processes as open as possible, and they are certainly not made because it is someone's favourite pub or beer.
If any local CAMRA member would like to be part of the local judging team they must be prepared to visit each of the four short-listed pubs anonymously on two different occasions early in the year and allocate scores according to the national criteria. If you are interested, drop us an email at: ku.gro.armac.yrtnevoc@tcatnoc and someone will be in touch with you.