Harpenden pubs fall out with CAMRA
A ROW is brewing between Harpenden pub landlords and real ale campaigners after a decision to screen Englands’s first world cup football game at the town’s annual beer festival.
Angry licensees have hit out at the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ales) plan to show England’s opening match against USA on the last night of its three-day festival, June 12. They say this will take trade away from them.
But CAMRA spokesman Iain Loe said the publicans are being really “silly” because the beer festival attracts people into the town from all over putting Harpenden firmly on the map and promoting the cause of real ale.
He said: “Many of the people visiting the festival spill over into the surrounding pubs. These silly people can’t see further than the end of their noses. Are they so lacking in imagination that they can’t get people into their pubs with special World Cup promotions? We decided to put the game on so that dedicated fans won’t stay away from the festival but it is being shown on terrestrial TV and I am sure people who just want to watch football won’t want to pay our �3 entrance fee to do this.
“Also the lager and Guinness drinkers won’t want to come to a real ale festival anyway.”
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But Grant Hollier of The Plough and Harrow in Southdown Road, said: “Every Saturday night I put on a live band here and we will be showing the game before that. It’s one chance for hard-hit publicans to cash in on a national event and they are taking it away from us. I am not in the town centre and can’t hope to pick up any passing trade from the festival.”
But he stressed many of the town centre publicans are also unhappy about the festival cashing in on the world cup fever. He added: “I know that the Old Cock Inn and most of our Pubwatch members are unhappy about this, saying it would have a negative impact on their businesses.
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“What has real ale got to do with football or music? They should stick to promoting the beer.”
Hamish Miller, landlord of The Gibraltar Castle, supports Mr Hollier’s view saying a lot of pubs are struggling to survive in this climate.