It’s been a funny old year.
CAMRGB membership has increased steadily while hits on the blog has soared along with people following on Twitter.
The group is still slightly short of the 1000 members that I had hoped we would reach this year, but I shouldn’t grumble as the events over the course of 2013, along with the ones planned for 2014, have seen CAMRGB members beginning to really take ownership of the organisation and run with it, which is exactly what I have wanted.
The year began with an invitation to brew with Shepherd Neame and it was a day I enjoyed very much.
Though it was damned cold down in Kent in the middle of January I was warmed by the friendliness and openness of the people I spent my time with.
We had a couple of Twitter events under the #CAMRGB banner but organised by members rather than by me – I took part of course, it would have been rude not to.
There are two main highlights of the year for me.
The first was the inaugural Birmingham Cubed which was an epic day of beery delights, superbly organised and run, packed with people having a good time and enjoying superb beer regardless of dispense or production and though not a CAMRGB event, it was dreamed up and made reality by mainly CAMRGB members which delighted me as it proved to me that everyone involved is thinking along the same lines – a like minded group of people coming together to celebrate and support great beer, great breweries and each other.
The second was the Bristol Twissup organised between CAMRGB and Arbor Ales that attracted a big bunch of people who happily wandered around a selection of superb drinking establishments laughing and joking the whole day through and getting slowly sozzled in the company of new found friends.
Actually there’s a third big highlight, and that was Nate of Booze, Beats & Bites (@NateDawg27) organising and running the CAMRGB Christmas Event in Norwich.
It was an event I didn’t even attend, though I had really wanted to.
But it was the very first time the organisation’s banner had been used without any involvement from myself and it was the first glimpse for me of exactly what I had hoped might eventually happen with this little group of ours.
People are really starting to take the idea to their hearts – CAMRGB is for and of and by everyone.
It only exists as more than a blog written by a gobshite because people want it to.
It’s the members that are forcing this thing into life, making it a tangible organisation.
Moving into 2014 we have an event being organised by Connor (@likethemurphys) in Manchester, which is another example of ownership being taken (Connor has already organised and run the #JustTheOne Twitter event earlier in 2013).
It’s also been good to welcome new writers to the blog, most of them better than me with a pen (or a keyboard) to give some fresh flavour to the writing style and I’m sure removing some of the boredom from the readership.
Oh, and I went to The Great British Beer Festival and wasn’t taken out by CAMRA Ninjas.
So that’s about it I think.
Brief this year, but that’s how it should be I think – CAMRGB is settling down as an ongoing and very real thing that people accept is there and happening and becoming a normal part of beer geekdom.
Thanks to all the super new folk I’ve met over the course of 2013, and to the people who are now becoming the old guard, staunchly attending events and putting up with my ranting and raving about the state of beer as I slowly slide down the table into a pool of my own slurred rumblings.
Onwards and upwards.
Here is the slightly boring factual bit:
Membership to date: 776
Average monthly hits on the website: 9,000
Twitter followers to date: 6,288