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The evolution of What’s Brewing 

Exciting changes are in the pipeline for CAMRA’s premier publication. Learn about the changes, how and why the decision has been made, timelines you can expect and how to get involved!

The printed edition of What’s Brewing has been a staple of CAMRA campaigning since our founding, bringing news and campaigns to beer and pub lovers across the UK. 

Yet as we enter a new digital age – propelled at high-speed thanks to COVID-19 – it has become clear that our members need more news, quicker and better connected to their local area.

What’s Brewing is evolving from a monthly printed publication to a new and improved digital platform to meet that need and bring you the news you really want – when you want it. As a result, the last monthly printed edition of What’s Brewing will be the April edition, landing on doorsteps from 17 March onwards.

The rationale

The What’s Brewing print-to-digital project is just one of the decisions that has been taken to make CAMRA’s campaigns more well-resourced and agile to save more pubs and breweries in these challenging times. In the last year alonewe launched a new Learn & Discover platform to host a range of video and audio guides to help members learn more about their favourite drink. The highly popular podcast Pubs. Pints. People. ran throughout the year and will be returning next month for yet another season of CAMRA chat. We built a virtual pub – the Red (On)Lion – and launched Brew2You to help local producers and pubs stay afloat during this difficult time. 

It is not only the responsible action to take but one that makes sense when planning for CAMRA’s future, taking into account how we are all digesting news in 2021 and beyond. 

What are the changes?

A dynamic digital platform

A major overhaul of the current digital platform wb.camra.org.uk is underway to provide our members with a new look & feel, easy to search for articles, greater ability to share video, audio and imagery and full mobile optimisation. The entire site will be brought behind a membership log-in, upon which members can select their news preference – such as “North East” or “South West” news + “AGM updates”, and receive that news front and centre.

More content

After a very difficult year of pub closures having a major impact on local branch magazines, it is clear that local campaigning stories need a home. To help bridge the gap between national and local campaigning, and to provide you with even greater content and news stories relevant to you, we will be welcoming volunteer writers to contribute to What’s Brewing online from across the UK.

Greater frequency 

One of the drawbacks to the What’s Brewing monthly newspaper has always been the wait each month for the next edition to land on your doorstep. In an increasingly digital age, our members need to be access news as and when it’s happening. That is why we will be creating a tailored newsletter to bring you updates straight to your inbox and a new Twitter feed to keep you updated in-between issues.

Enhanced BEER Magazine

BEER magazine will still be available in print and digital forms every quarter. In addition, from the Autumn 2021 issue onwards BEER will include an eight-page What’s Brewing insert, to help keep our print readers up-to-date with CAMRA news, features and analysis, opinions and more.

Getting involved!

Would you like to get involved as a What’s Brewing contributor? We need your help to bridge the gap between local and national campaigning stories!

Whether you are experienced in writing branch magazine or online content or would like to try your hand at something new, training, advice and support will be provided.

If you wish to volunteer, fill in your contact details below and we will get in touch as soon as we get the process lined up!

Want to know more about the decision-making process?

For more info on the decision-making process and governance behind this change, log in and visit the volunteers’ area below.

FAQs

Why is What's Brewing not being produced monthly?

Reducing print costs to just producing BEER magazine is the responsible action to take. The evolution of What’s Brewing from a printed newspaper to a dynamic web platform will future-proof CAMRA for another 50 years and save the campaign £130K a year. All savings generated will be re-invested back into our campaigning objectives of supporting the beer and pubs industry. 

When can I expect the last monthly printed issue?

The last printed edition will be April 2021, hitting doorsteps from 17 March 2021. 

What can I do to keep receiving a paper What's Brewing every month?

There is no opportunity to opt-back into a paper edition of What’s Brewing. For those of you who still like a paper version,  you will be pleased to hear that BEER magazine will continue to be published in both printed and digital format four times a year and will include an eight-page What’s Brewing insert from the Autumn 2021 edition onwards. 

Can I pay extra for the print edition?

No – resources will be diverted from producing the print edition to enhancing the digital platform and transferring content to BEER magazine, so there will not be any print editions available for purchase. 

Who is responsible for this decision?

This decision to end printed production of What’s Brewing was made by the National Executive in September 2019, on recommendation from the Communications Committee.  

How was this decision made?

This decision has been in the making for over three years. The Communications Committee originally put forward a recommendation to stop producing What’s Brewing every month back in 2016. The decision was not pursued at that time; however, a second project proposal was developed in 2019 which was subsequently approved by the National Executive in September that year.  

A Membership Publication Group, reporting to the Commercial and Communications Committee, was set up in 2020 to identify the best way to implement and communicate the changes to CAMRA members, with those recommendations approved in January 2021. 

Isn't this just the old What's Brewing website?

The IT prioritisation group has agreed to several enhancements and changes to the current What’s Brewing website to ensure that it is a dynamic and versatile news platform. Initial changes – such as the ability to personalise content and involve more volunteer writers - will be implemented by the May 2021, with scope for ongoing improvement over the coming 12-18 months based on member feedback.  

How do I find out about events/festivals/branch socials now?

All branch events, festivals and socials – when they resume - will be updated through the national CAMRA site at https://camra.org.uk/beer-festivals-events/our-events/  

Is BEER in any danger?

No, BEER will continue to be produced four times a year as a printed product and will be available as a PDF and Flippable digital publication. 

What will the money saved by What’s Brewing be spent on?

Any savings generated will be re-invested back into our campaigning objectives. 

Is this because of COVID?  Will it come back after the pandemic?

The timeframe to end monthly printed What’s Brewing production was brought forward from July to April 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact it has had on CAMRA finances. However, the decision pre-dates COVID-19 and is taking place regardless of the pandemic. 

Will I get a part refund of my CAMRA subscription?

No. The online digital platform will bring an enhanced news experience for our members who will continue to benefit from What’s Brewing digitally, as well as with the printed BEER insert. There are a huge range of CAMRA benefits available for members, and your membership helps support our campaigning efforts to support the beer and pubs industry during this difficult time. Full benefit information is available here 

How can I publicise my event/beer festival/branch?

When local events can resume, you will be able to follow the process as normal, allowing for a staff member to list the event on the CAMRA website. A major improvement is that we won’t be as limited with word count, so won’t need to use as many abbreviations in the listings. 

Will some of the What’s Brewing features be added to BEER magazine?

Yes – a What’s Brewing branded 8-page insert will be included in BEER magazine from the Autumn 2021 issue onwards. The details of this content are still being agreed between the editors and publishers at this stage. 

Can I get back issues of What’s Brewing?

Yes – there are currently PDFs available of What’s Brewing on the web platform dating back to 2018 for reference and will remain on the platform. 

Who do I complain to?

Comments and feedback will be collated by the Communications Team at wb.feedback@camra.org.uk. However, unless you have a specific query about the transition, your feedback may not be acknowledged over email as it will be collated for the volunteer leadership. 

This was one of the main reasons I am a member, why should I stay with CAMRA?

As a member, you can enjoy a broad range of member and partner benefits and help us to support the beer and pubs industry during this difficult time. You can find an updated list of member benefits by visiting https://camra.org.uk/join/membership-benefits/  

How can I volunteer to write for the digital platform?

You can register your interest by completing the form in the section above named 'What's Brewing Volunteer Contributors'.

Will the PDF and Flippable versions of What’s Brewing still be available?

No – both versions will be discontinued to give us more time and resources to regularly update the web platform and ensure that it has plenty of interesting and dynamic content.  

How do I sign up for the What’s Brewing newsletter?

You will be able to subscribe to the newsletter when the membership login function is built on the web page. We will notify you as soon as this is made available. 

Where can I find the Twitter feed?

The Twitter feed is still under construction and will be made available to members over the coming months. 

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