Swindon and North Wiltshire

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

The Rising Tun

The Rising Tun

The Rising Tun is the quarterly publication of the Swindon & North Wiltshire Branch of CAMRA.

In the autumn of 2008 The Tun became The Rising Tun after Swindon & North Wilts CAMRA and North West Wilts CAMRA branches decided to publish a joint newsletter covering a much larger area than the Tun covered. Devizes CAMRA branch joined the venture later, covering an even larger area. North West Wilts CAMRA later dropped out of the joint venture to produce their own publication.

The Rising Tun is published quarterly.

If you have any articles or information you would like included, please get in touch with the editor via the Contacts page.
If you would like to advertise, please get in touch with Paper Red Media, Tel: 01536 358670, Email/s: moc.tenretnitb@sdrahcir.n or moc.kooltuo@aidemderrepap

The Tun

The Tun was our previous free local newsletter which was distributed to Pubs in the area.

Gettem In

Gettem In was the original Swindon & North Wiltshire CAMRA newsletter. This was produced between the late 1970's and mid 1980's before being replaced by the Tun in the early 1990's.

Extracts from Older Issues

These extracts show that the fight for consumer choices and for landlords being given a chance to make a decent living are going back a long way. Much of this is still relevant today.

The extracts also show that much has been achieved over the years.

More Real Ale Choice than ever

(From The Tun, Autumn 2004 edition)

"There is more choice for British beer drinkers today than at any time in CAMRA's 33-year history," Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz said on 15th Sept, launching the 2005 edition of the Good Beer Guide.

The guide lists more than 50 new breweries, twice as many as in the 2004 edition. "The total number of micros is in excess of 400," Roger Protz said. "This means that Britain now has more micro-breweries per head of the population than any country in the world.

Protz added that many new brewers had been encouraged to start up as a result of Small Brewers' Relief and this has helped to secure the future of many small brewers. In the 2004 Budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown extended the relief for smaller brewers to an upper limit of 36,000 barrels a year.

"The savings in duty are considerable - around £100,000 a year for a brewery producing 20,000 barrels," Protz went on. "But Gordon Brown should bring in a true Sliding Scale of Duty on the European model in order that all independent producers can benefit.

"Roger Protz said it was "grossly unfair" that Refresh UK, for example, does not benefit from this relief. "Refresh owns the Wychwood Brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire, and has also bought the Brakspear brands from the former Brakspear Brewery in nearby Henley-on-Thames. 

"It has spent around £1 million extending the brewery and building a separate fermenting hall for the Brakspear brands. It has saved the classic Brakspear pale ales from oblivion but receives no help from the government, as the combined Brakspear/Wychwood plants produce more than 36,000 barrels a year."

MPs Probe Pub Companies

(From The Tun, Summer 2004 edition)

Mike Benner, Chief Executive of CAMRA, and Jonathon Mail, Public Affairs Manager, gave evidence to the Trade and Industry Select Committee on 22nd June on the activities of Pub Companys, or Pubcos.
Asked by the chair to explain how allowing pub company tenants to sell a "guest beer", i.e. one sourced independently of the chain's list, would help consumers, Mr. Benner said "You hear, of course, that there are about 2,000 different beers available from 400 brewers in this country and access to the market for the majority of those small brewers is restricted because of the tie. They cannot possibly get on the lists for guest beers, or call them what you will, for the big pub companies due to the discounts demanded and lack of capacity."

Mr. Benner continued "From the consumers' point of view, they cannot get access to that wide range of local beers in pubs, despite the fact that our own research shows that about 55 per cent of consumers would like to see at least one beer in each pub from a local supplier. Our solution to this problem is that we think there should be a guest beer provision that applies to all pub chain agreements so that tenants who think that they can boost their own business by taking a beer from a local brewer should be able to do so on top of their tied quota."

As well as investigating the issue of the wide gap between what pubcos pay brewers and what they charge their tenants, the committee is examining the system of upward only rent reviews.

John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, is expected to begin consultation on legislation that would ban such upward only reviews for pub tenants. This follows the failure of a voluntary code of practice to encourage companies to abandon the system, which the government sees as unfair and anticompetitive.

In last year's budget, the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, warned that legislation would follow if the voluntary initiative failed.

Pub is the Hub

(From The Tun, Spring 2004 edition)

A new guide, Saving Your Local Pub , has been produced jointly by CAMRA, Pub is the Hub, and Business in the Community. Launched at a time when dozens of community pubs are being closed and turned into private houses, the new guide is intended to help local people who want to keep their local at the heart of the community.

HRH The Prince of Wales comments in his foreword to the Guide: "The idea of this elementary tool-kit is to help those communities which are considering 'taking the plunge', giving them a clear way forward by providing knowledge about how to do it and pitfalls to avoid. This guide, produced in association with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), to whom I am enormously grateful, collects the experiences and ideas of hundreds of people who have already saved their pubs and, I hope, provides an invaluable 'how-to' approach." www.pubisthehub.org.uk

National Pubs Week Returns

(From The Tun, Winter 2003 edition)

National Pubs Week 2004 will take place between Saturday 21st and Saturday 28th February to celebrate British pubs.

National Pubs Week was originally launched in February 2003 to encourage more people to visit pubs more regularly. A staggering 15,000 pubs organised events and displayed promotional material in the first campaign.

Due to this success, CAMRA have now made National Pubs Week a calendar event. Mike Benner, CAMRA's Head of Campaigns said, "National Pubs Week was an event created to encourage people to visit pubs more regularly at a time of year when trade can be slow for the industry.  We were delighted that 15,000 pubs came on board in February 2003 and hope the 2004 event will be even more successful."

Benner continued, "The key to the success of National Pubs Week is gettingpubs involved in the campaign, ordering free promotional material from CAMRA and arranging a number of events to encourage people through the door to celebrate British pubs throughout the last week of February 2004."

Arkell's is 160!

To celebrate their 160th year, Arkell's are staging a beer festival at the brewery on 13th of September.

It is hoped that visitors to the festival will be able to sample the diverse flavours of beers from all 33 members of the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB), of which Arkell's is a member. The festival will also raise money for the Prospect Hospice in Wroughton and St John Ambulance.

Anyone who wants to tour the brewery during the festival is asked to book a place by calling 823026.

Why not visit Arkell's at http://www.arkells.com?

Saving our Heritage Pubs

Of over 60,000 pubs in the UK, a mere 250 have interiors of outstanding heritage interest. The huge majority of pubs have undergone drastic alterations in recent years and less than 4% have retained features of historic significance.

Dave Gamston, Chairman of CAMRA's Pub Heritage Group and Editor of the National Inventory said, "CAMRA fully appreciates that pubs have to survive in the real world of commercial pressures, adapting their business to modern needs, but all too often these pressures have led to 'change for change's sake', with wide-scale loss of historic internal features. Less than 4% of the national pub stock remains unspoilt enough to be worthy of CAMRA's National Inventory, and holding on to these treasures is now a major conservation challenge".

He continued "The National Inventory is about raising awareness of the problem with politicians, local authorities, pub companies and fellow consumers. It's also about celebrating the best of the pub heritage we have left".

The third edition of the National Inventory has been painstakingly compiled by CAMRA's Pub Heritage Group. It includes pubs from across the UK including Northern Ireland. Pubs are selected purely for their internal physical fabric.

In our area, there is only one pub in the national inventory, the Bruce Arms at Easton Royal, between Pewsey and Burbage.

Entering The Bruce Arms is like stepping back some 60 years or so. The bar was fitted in 1934 and very little has changed since then. The tables and benches are believed to be more than 150 years old and the building itself dates back to around 1800. It is well worth a visit.

Welcome for Measures Report

(From The Tun, Spring 2003 edition)

CAMRA has supported calls by the National Audit Office for a modernisation of Weights & Measures legislation to stop beer drinkers being served short measures in pubs.

The report, 'Regulation of Weights and Measures' released on March 14th , claims that licensees are selling an extra 200 million pints of beer each year than they buy in with a wholesale value of £130 million.

CAMRA's own research shows that 9 out of 10 pints sold in British pubs are less than 100% liquid and that 1 in 4 pints are less than the industry's own guidelines of 95% minimum liquid.

Mike Benner, Head of Campaigns and Communications said, "It's quite clear that new legislation is needed to protect Britain's 15 million beer drinkers from short measures in pubs. The current system of self-regulation has failed and consumers are paying through the nose for beer they are not receiving. We need a law which protects consumers by defining a pint of beer and cider as 100% liquid, making it an offence to serve short measures."

Current Government proposals for a 95% minimum pint rule will still leave beer drinkers short.

Swindon Beer Festival in doubt

(From The Tun, Autumn 2002 edition)

At the beginning of October the 17th Swindon Beer Festival, scheduled for the 14th to 16th November, is under threat of cancellation due to the Fire Brigade's Union dispute with the local authority employers.

The Festival is due to be held at the Territorial Army Drill Hall in Park Lane, but in the event that the Union vote for strike action, this may be unavailable due to the Army's commitment to provide emergency cover while the firemen are on strike.

It appears unlikely that it will be possible to make alternative arrangements at this late stage. The dispute is having some effect on the arrangements already, as we attempt to avoid incurring abortive costs, for the production of special glasses etc.

We should know before the tickets go on sale date whether the Festival can go ahead or not; please watch local press and this website for the latest information.

For details on the 2002 Swindon Beer Festival please see the Beer Festivals page.

Brew pubs set for an expansion?

(From The Tun Summer 2002 edition)

Britain's stands on the brink of an explosion in Beer choice and diversity. Beer culture will soon be rekindled among hedonistic youth of today. Struggling pubs will become genuinely profitable once more. Drinkers, wherever they live, will have access to an enormous variety of ales, lagers, stouts, wheat beers, whatever they like.

Well, maybe. When Gordon Brown announced the sliding scale beer duty it didn't mean that consumers would see all (or indeed any) of the reduction in the pubs. What it means is that it brewers producing up to 18,300 barrels a year will enjoy a duty reduction on the first 3000. The maximum benefit available is about £120,000 per brewer.

This may not be much for the larger companies, but it could be enough to transform the financial prospects for small-scale brewing, and could lead to an explosion in the brew pub sector. In at the 1992 Good Beer Guide and there were 96 Micro and the 32 independent brew pubs. In 2002 the total is 388, so there is already a trend.

Already the suppliers and installers of Brewery equipment are beginning to eye up the market.

Robert Jones of Brighton's Dark Star Brewery - inventor of the "Russian Doll" Mini-Micro system believes another 200 might open in the next two to three years.

"Before the Budget that level of demand for brand new breweries had actually been falling," he says. "Now I think demand is going to kick off again and to keep growing." He continued "Even if you're only planning to brew five barrels a week that's a duty savings of £10,000 a year, which is exceeded in demand for a sole trader".

A surge in small-scale brewing may not lead directly to a big expansion in the market. Many of the free traders who now brew were previously customers of existing micros, and although many of them still stock guest ales, inevitably their own product displaces much of the volume. For that reason alone, much of the duty saving micro brewers receive is likely to go towards investing in their own tied estates.

Nevertheless, looking at the next two or three years through the rosiest possible spectacles, CAMRA members and a Beer lovers generally can hope to see a dramatic rise in the number of pubs installing breweries of their own, which might rekindle a public interest in Beer generally. If we can get people, especially younger people, interest in Beer it has to be good thing for every brewer, whether they qualify for the duty reduction or not.

After an article by Ted Bruning, from What's Brewing

Who was Sally Pussey?

(From The Tun Summer 2002 edition)

The origin of the name of this pub on the Wootton Bassett Road is described on the back of its menus thus:

"Sarah Purse was the licensee of the Wheatsheaf on the Wootton Bassett to Swindon Road until she passed away in 1885 and was laid to rest in Lydiard Tregoze churchyard.

During her reign it is said that she possessed extraordinary powers as a faith healer of both men and beasts.

She became somewhat of a living legend because of this and, although a mere 5 ft 1 inch high, had an awesome reputation among her regulars who included some of the burly men building the nearby Great Western railway line. Rumour has it that on more than one occasion she physically 'put them out' with not a hint of resistance.

Like all good legendary figures Sarah had a name of her own. By various rolls of the Wiltshire tongue she first became Sarah Puss, then Sah Puss and finally Sally Pussey - or Aunt Sally as she became better known."

Around 1971 it was decided to revive the legend of Aunt Sally and rename Wheatsheaf the Sally Pussey's Inn.

By Vince Chilcott

The Tun - Essential reading for every beer lover