Update 09/05/2019: this ended up being one of the seeds for our book Brew Britannia where the saga of CAMRAIL is covered in detail.
Our copy of the 1978 CAMRA Good Beer Guide (thanks, Bailey’s parents!) is full of interesting tit-bits, not least the page setting out the details of CAMRA’s investments.
The objective of CAMRA (Real Ale) Investments Limited is to acquire and run a chain of public houses offering a range of traditional draught beers in simply and unfussy surrounding.
In 1978, the company owned five pubs — the Old Fox in Bristol, the Salisbury Arms in Cambridge, the Nag’s Head in Hampstead, the White Gates in Manchester and the Eagle in Leeds — and was ‘on the look out for more’.
Across the chain there were beers from Marston, Crown (formerly the South Wales and Monmouthshire United Clubs Brewery), Wadworth, Courage (Bristol), Samuel Smith, Bateman, Adnams, Wells, Greene King, Brakspear, Boddingtons, Thwaites, Pollard and Theakston. Only one of those, Pollard, was a ‘new wave’ brewery.
The Nag’s Head we are told “is enormously popular among young people in North London and has made hundreds, possibly thousands, of converts to real ale in the lager generation”. All kinds of interesting language there.
Can anyone point us to an article explaining what happened to these pubs and the CAMRA investments chain? And does anyone remember visiting any of them under the benevolent rule of the Campaign?