The Story of the Ring

Back in 2012, when we were researching Brew Britannia, we gathered quite a list of proto-CAMRA beer appreciation societies, including The Ring.

Details on The Ring proved elu­sive, though, even when we emailed an address we were giv­en for Sue Hart, who we were told was a core mem­ber of the group. She did­n’t reply and we did­n’t pur­sue the sto­ry any fur­ther.

Then, ear­li­er this week, she emailed out of the blue with kind words about our two books and a won­der­ful sum­ma­ry of the sto­ry of The Ring which (edit­ed slight­ly, with her per­mis­sion) we’re delight­ed to present here so that nobody with access to Google need be as puz­zled as we were five years back.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “The Sto­ry of the Ring”

Tooled Up Froth Blowers, RALF and the Ring

Not the real RALF logo.
Not the real RALF logo…

When we wrote about the Ancient Order of Froth Blow­ers, we knew they were rel­a­tive­ly well known, but did­n’t know they’d been immor­talised in ani­ma­tion. Our favourite dis­cov­ery, how­ev­er, has been that the AOFB was used as a cov­er by ‘Wild Geese’ mer­ce­nar­ies who turned up to sup­port a 1981 coup in the Sey­chelles wear­ing blaz­ers embroi­dered with the Order’s logo, and with their bags stuffed with guns.

That Froth Blow­ers post also led a chap called Bert to tip us off to the exis­tence of the mil­i­tant Real Ale Lib­er­a­tion Front (RALF), found­ed by pub land­lord and CAMRA mem­ber Nick Win­ning­ton in Wey­mouth in c.1977, with the aim of car­ry­ing out small acts of sab­o­tage against keg beer and the big brew­ers. There was more than one mem­ber, and there were some stick­ers, but that’s all we know. We’ve emailed Nick (with Bob Arnot­t’s help) and await more infor­ma­tion.

Final­ly, our new favourite book(s), Green and White’s Evening Stan­dard Guide to Lon­don Pubs (1973), gives us this:

Anoth­er orga­ni­za­tion con­cerned with pubs and beer is ‘the Ring.’ This is a loose­ly knit group of mature stu­dents of the pub scene. They meet once a month for a deter­mined pub crawl, oblig­ed to vis­it ten or eleven pre-select­ed pubs. Mason­ic rit­u­als pre­vail; you buy drinks in groups of three or four in strict rota­tion; and when the leader has fin­ished his half pint, he shouts ‘Ring out!’, at which you must drain your glass and leave the pub… Men are known col­lec­tive­ly as Hec­tor, and ladies – though not nor­mal­ly accept­ed – as Mor­ag.

Can any­one con­firm the exis­tence of the Ring? Or is this just it’s-a-mad-world jour­nal­is­tic bull­shit?