CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale is an independent, voluntary organisation campaigning for real ale, community pubs and consumer rights.
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TAYSIDE BRANCH HISTORY 1975 TO 2006
The Tayside and Fife Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale was established at a meeting of 20-
This was the third CAMRA branch in Scotland, after Edinburgh and Glasgow, and covered the City of Dundee and the counties of Angus, Fife, Perth and Kinross. These became the regions of Tayside and Fife in the mid 1970's following local government reorganisation. In 1980 campaigning responsibility for Fife was split between Tayside and Edinburgh & Borders Branches. This was again changed in 1989 when increasing activity by CAMRA members in the Forth Valley/ south Fife area made it logical for the Branch to adopt the regional area covering Fife north of Leven and become "Tayside and North East Fife". Final separation from Fife came with the setting up of a full branch there in 1999.
At the time of the formation of the Branch there were about 30 licensed premises known to be selling cask-
Real Ale Outlets in June 1975:-
Angus: Arbroath -
Broughty Ferry -
City of Dundee: Bowbridge, Main Street/Mains Road (Belhaven 80/-
Robin Hood, High Street, Lochee (Younger XXPS) Scott's Corner, Dundonald Street/Clepington Street (McEwan 80/-
Fife: Dunfermline -
Perth & Kinross: Alyth -
Note that Broughty Ferry and Monifieth were part of the City of Dundee at this time, but were treated by the Branch in Guides, and by many locals, as part of Angus.
The Branch area covers between 3,000 and 4,000 square miles, from Kinross in the south to Clova in the north; Kinloch Rannoch in the west to Montrose in the east. The number of pubs and hotels was around 600 -
The early years of the Branch were busy -
Research was done for the Good Beer Guide, which included Scotland for the first time in 1975, and also for the Scottish Real Beer Guide which listed all known real ale outlets. While the number of these for our area decreased between the first Scottish Guide's appearance in 1975/76 and the second one in 1976/77, members made a substantial contribution to the editing and production -
Despite the fall in numbers of pubs selling cask beer in the middle 1970's, which was part of a national trend to which the growth of CAMRA was a response, there were several welcome developments. The persuasion of Jonathan Stewart of the Ladywell Tavern of the superiority of cask to keg or bright beer by members who lunched in his pub was a major breakthrough for the Campaign locally. Jonathan later turned the Shakespeare bar in the Hilltown into a centre of real ale excellence, and today presides over the Fisherman's Tavern, Royal Arch and Mennie's -
In the country, the Brownhills House Hotel near St Andrews brought relief to Town and Gown by introducing the first cask ales in the area for some years, while in Angus, the building of a new pub in a previously dry area -
The Branch was visited by National Chairman Joe Goodwin in April 1979, the only time it has had such an honour, who addressed a meeting in the Anchor, Broughty Ferry. Joe made a point of visiting every branch in the country and was a popular leader, making his untimely death a few years later all the more tragic.
The first major Branch activity was the running of a beer tent for a cricket tournament at Scone Palace, organised by the Perth Tourist Board as an event to boost local tourism. In May 1979, Branch organisation was immaculate, but disastrous weather kept the crowds away -
Liaison with breweries took place regularly, with informal discussions with the S&N rep for Fife producing a surprisingly sympathetic response and a small but steady input of cask McEwan's 80/-
In April 1981 a meeting was held in the Hal o' the Wynd to test support for a Perth CAMRA Branch. Shortly afterwards a sub-
There was a reaction to the '70's real ale slump, undoubtedly due at least in part to CAMRA activities, with a surge in the number of outlets in the early-
The possibility of organising a branch beer festival was investigated during the early '80's, though attempts foundered on problems which were to recur: want of sufficient volunteers and an affordable venue. Meanwhile, beer exhibitions were organised at sites in Broughty Ferry, and members assisted in the running of several Round Table beer festivals in Dundee which Jonathan Stewart helped to set up. Later, the arrival of two CAMRA activists, Nick and Karen Brannan, in the Brechin area led to an attempt to organise a small festival there, in collaboration with Aberdeen Branch, but to no avail -
Two pubs were presented with certificates for being in the Good Beer Guide for ten editions in 1984: the Fisherman's Tavern, Broughty Ferry, and the St Thomas Bar, Arbroath. Despite a memorable celebratory party in the latter, it was sold off shortly afterwards and ceased to be an oasis of Maclay's ale.
The big event of the 1980's for the Dundee area was the opening of the Hawkhill Brewery in 1983. With council assistance, this new business was set up in an industrial unit near the university, with a lease on the former Scout Bar in Temple Lane as a brewery tap. The brewer was Bob Exley, who had earlier established the Buddon Brewery in his garage in Monifieth. Buddon beers were a welcome addition to what was a limited selection of Scottish ales available. They were sold at various times in the British Legion Club, Monifieth; the Lorne Bar, Arbroath; the Fort Bar, Broughty Ferry and the Cyprus Inn, Bridge of Earn, but never achieved real success with the public. Now a range of excellent beers using names associated with the former Dundee brewer Ballingall's was produced at Hawkhill -
Other brewery visits were enjoyed by the Branch, notably to Lorimer and Clark's (now Caledonian) where former CAMRA activist Dan Kane was manager, and later to the increasingly successful Harviestoun Brewery run by Ken Brooker at Dollar. A select group was guided by the then chairman on a tour of pubs in the industrially run-
The 1990's brought in a period of activism within the Branch with a rush of new blood which increased enthusiasm and energy. An internal newsletter which had been sporadically issued in the past now became a more professional-
CAMRA launched the national "Pub Of The Year" (POTY) competition in 1989, and in the year 1990/91 the Branch nominated the Fisherman's Tavern as its first "POTY". This popular pub went on to win the Scottish area of the competition and achieved the distinction of jointly winning the British POTY title -
In 1995 a move was made to re-
Over 20 members, old and new, attended and the Sub-
Attempts had been made previously to organise a beer festival in Dundee, but had proved impossible for a variety of reasons, so while it made no surplus, the 1996 Perth Festival was a boost to the Branch. A further cause for hope was the opening of the Inveralmond Brewery, its first brew -
Following the demise of the Hawkhill Brewery, there were various rumours of new micro-
In Dundee, brewing returned late in 1996 with the opening of a brew-
The Inveralmond Brewery, mentioned above, was established by husband and wife team Fergus and Ailish Clark in 1997, the premises in a unit on the Inveralmond Industrial Estate being formally opened by the Lord Provost of Perth on the 14th of May. Unlike some of the earlier would-
Several Inveralmond ales have won "Beer of the Festival" awards at CAMRA events from Portsmouth to Aberdeen, and Ossian's was voted Champion Beer of Scotland for 2001, the Dan Kane Memorial Quaich being presented to Fergus by CAMRA Scottish Director Ken Davie at the Cherrybank Inn in October of that year. Recently the brewery expanded into adjacent premises, and is going from strength to strength.
The Pub Of The Year (POTY) competition was introduced by CAMRA nationally in the late 1980's, and the Tayside and North Fife Branch started to participate in the early '90's. The award recognised long-
Record of Pubs Of The Year:
1991 Fisherman's Tavern, Broughty Ferry, Dundee.
1992 Morven Hotel, Carnoustie, Angus.
1993 Phoenix Bar, Dundee.
1994 Kettlebridge Inn, Kettlebridge, Fife.
1995 Galleon Bar, Dundee.
1999 Kettlebridge Inn; Kettlebridge, Fife.
2000 Meadow Arms (Ericht Ale House), Blairgowrie, Perthshire.
2001 Chance Inn, Inverkeilor, Angus.
2002 Cree's Inn, Abernethy, Perthshire.
2003 Moulin Inn, Moulin, by Pitlochry, Perthshire.
2004 Ericht Ale House, Blairgowrie, Perthshire.
2005 Ericht Ale House, Blairgowrie, Perthshire.
2006 Ericht Ale House, Blairgowrie, Perthshire.
Angus Caledonian Hotel,Brechin. Caledonian Hotel,Brechin. .
City of Dundee Mickey Coyle's Mickey Coyle's.
Perth & Kinross Ericht Ale House. Ericht Ale House.
The Branch history would not be complete without mention of several characters in the licensed trade who so far have been mentioned briefly or not at all.
In Dundee the redoubtable Mrs Mennie of the Speedwell, Dick Brodie of the Fisherman's and Ewart Fraser of the Campbletown were publicans with a commitment to cask beer and traditional pubs who were doing CAMRA's job at the time when-
Andrew Alwell of the Ship Inn for long kept the best beer in Perth and ensured the pub was in the Good Beer Guide for 17 years up to his retiral in 2002. David Ireland turned the Morven Hotel, Carnoustie, from a run-
Jonathan Stewart's contribution has already been noted: a pioneer of cask beer in Dundee; now a newer generation of pub owners and managers -
Unfortunately, the loss of Branch Minutes for the first five years prevents full acknowledgement of contributions of campaigning members, but from the writer's memory, the following deserve special mention for their particular efforts (in alphabetical order) .
John Alexander, Richard Bowater, Bert Donaldson, Ray Duncan, David Eggleston, Giles Dove, Don Higson, Jim Hood, Ian Hosie, Alan Kerr, Malcolm Lawson, John Lloyd, Roddy Macleod, Ray McLernon, Frank Mills, Bruce Milne, Andy & Jean Porteous, David Quayle, Stuart Rivers.
Copyright © 2007 Forbes Browne.
|The Cateran Ale Trail|
|Broughty Ferry to Carnoustie|
|Forfar and Brechin|
|City of Perth|
|South of Perth|
|Tayside Branch Area Breweries|
|POTY - PAST WINNERS|
|CIDER & PERRY|