South Herts’ 50 Year Campaigning Timeline

1972: The first CAMRA Branch Meeting anywhere is held at The Farriers Arms in St. Albans, also the first Branch pub to convert to real ale.

1973: The second City pub to convert to real ale is The Lower Red Lion, a Free House, in Fishpool Street. The Hertfordshire Branch banner is proudly to the fore on the CAMRA march to stop the closure of Joules brewery in Stone, Staffs.

1974: CAMRA’s first ever Beer Festival is held at the Old Market Hall, St. Albans, run by Herts Branch – beer from 14 brewers is sold at 2p per half!

1975: A first Real Ale Guide to Herts pubs is produced. The Hertfordshire Branch splits with South Herts Branch carrying the original flame.

1976: The birth of the South Herts Newsletter – the forerunner to today’s Pints of View. Real ale takes off in South Herts aided with the introduction of Ind Coope’s Burton Ale to over 80 pubs.

1977: The first of four annual Hertfordshire Beer Festivals is held at Hatfield Polytechnic with 24 beers from 14 breweries.

1978: The Barley Mow at Tyttenhanger Green gains national fame, by selling 14 different real ales.

1979: The Branch leads the fight to save dark mild in Herts, campaigning for Greene King XX.

1980-1981: McMullen’s begin a slow process of installing handpumps in all of their Herts pubs – initially for Country Bitter and ultimately AK Mild.

1981: A first real ale guide to St. Albans is published, featuring some 45 pubs.

1982: A number of South Herts Branch Members form the Victoria Brewery, based in Ware.

1983-1984: St. Albans proudly boasts of being the first City in England where all of its pubs serve at least one real ale – 56 pubs.

1985: A strong local campaign is formed for pub hours reform – 11pm mid-week closing is finally achieved for many parts in 1986 and the relaxation of afternoon closing follows in 1988.

1986: The Woodman, Wildhill is the inaugural winner of the Branch Pub of the Year competition.

1987: Despite a strong local campaign CAMRA cannot prevent Greene King from closing Rayments’ Herts’ brewery – with the sad loss of BBA bitter.

1988: Another loss – Whitbread close Wethered’s of Marlow, a loss to many pubs in Herts.

1989: On the social side, from 1976 to 1997 therewere Branch weekend-away brewery trips – in 1989 to Theakston’s in Yorkshire.

1990 & 1991: Much disruption and uncertainty as big brewers offload pubs in response to rulings from the Monopolies & Mergers Commission. Fuller’s pick up a number of pubs, growing their tied estate in Hertfordshire.

1992: Tring Brewery is launched with a new range of excellent beers for the Hertfordshire Free Trade – still pleasing drinkers today.

1993: Hertfordshire Branches support CAMRA campaigning measures aimed to lower taxation on beer but the Government still increases it – an annual battle with the Chancellor through to the current day.

1994: McMullen’s brew “Traditional IPA” is based on a century-old Mac’s recipe.

1995: Sunday afternoon pub opening receives Royal Assent and midnight opening on Fridays and Saturdays is on its way.

1996: The first St. Albans Beer Festival is held at the Alban Arena.

1997: The Branch celebrates its 25th anniversary back where it all started, at the Farriers Arms.

1998: The Branch campaigns on the thorny issue of short measure.

1999: Allied Breweries (incorporating former Ind Coope pubs) sell 3500 pubs to the Punch Taverns Pub Company but the promise of guest beers turns out to be little more than beers from a pre-ordained Punch Taverns list.

2000: The Millennium brings a new Real Ale Guide to Hertfordshire, featuring over 900 pubs in the county. It is the last Herts Guide to be issued in print.

2001: The Branch joins the national campaign to promote cask ale.

2002–2003: After a year of worry and speculation over the future of the brewery and its tiedestate, McMullen’s find a way to continue as a brewing and pub company.

2004: Red Squirrel brewery opens in Hertford, later moving to Potten End. Now called Mad Squirrel.Short measure pint is still a Campaign focus.

2005: A new leaflet guide to real ale in Hertford and Ware is published.

2006: The Branch, in collaboration with the Abbey Line, produces a guide to real ale pubs near stations south-west of St. Albans.

2007: The Smoking Ban in pubs has pubs frantically building smoking shelters.

2008-2009: CAMRA’s new Locale Scheme supports pubs to stock locally brewed ale.

2010: The Branch holds its second and final Harpenden Beer Festival.

2011: Hertford’s first Saturday Ale Trail of town pubs attracts over 70 members.

2012: Our 40th year is marked by distributing pennants to Real Ale supporting pubs and breweries.

2013: The Mermaid in St. Albans wins the Branch’s first Cider & Perry Pub of the Year Competition. 3 Brewers of St. Albans start brewing near Hatfield. The Black Horse, Hertford is the initial recipient of the Branch’s “Most Improved Pub” award.

2014: Farrbrew begin brewing – now based near Wheathampstead. A second guide to real ale in St. Albans is printed, featuring 40 pubs. The Hertford Club wins the Branch’s first Club of the Year award.2015: The Branch gained (or helped gain) Assetof Community Value status for a number of pubs including the White Horse, Hertford.

2016-2017: The Great Northern and the Prae Wood Arms, both in St. Albans, secure Most Improved Pub awards.

2018: South Herts Branch enjoyed its 100th+ brewery trip, with a visit to Mighty Oak at Maldon.

2019-2020: The Branch wins CAMRA’s “Branch Website of the Year” award. During the Covid-19 Pandemic “Lockdown Hero” awards were made to pubs offering takeaway beer and food to their communities.

2021: As pubs re-open a Herts poster campaign is launched to support them. The 300th edition of Pints of View is published.

2022: A survey of all 250 pubs in South Herts is completed. Members brew a collaboration beer at McMullen’s – a porter called “1950” – celebrating 195yrs of Mac’s and 50yrs of the Branch. SABCF enjoys its 25th year after a 2-year gap.