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14th September 2017

Good Beer Guide celebrates its milestone 45th edition

The Good Beer Guide 2018 is celebrating its 45th edition by reflecting on the massive changes to the beer industry since it started in 1974.

This milestone edition provides an opportunity to take stock and marvel at the changes that have transformed the pleasure of beer drinking over this period – most significantly the explosion in the brewing industry and range of beers now available.

It also recognises just five pubs across the country that have been in every single edition of the Good Beer Guide – the Star Tavern and the Buckingham Arms in London, the Roscoe Head in Liverpool, the Square & Compass in Dorset and the Queen’s Head in Cambridge.

The first edition of the Good Beer Guide was just 96 pages in length and listed around 1,500 pubs. Its brewery section listed just 105 brewing companies. Today, this number tops 1,700.

The beer range available in 1974 was primarily composed of milds and bitters, with a smattering of winter and Christmas ales. The contrast with today could not be sharper, with the latest Guide listing 1704 breweries, producing more than 7,500 beers (as part of their core range) in more than 14 styles.

In 1974 pubs serving real ale were thin on the ground. Leeds had just five pubs that served real ale, Liverpool and Manchester had nine and 13 respectively. The entire county of Norfolk had just eight.

The Guide explores the contrast to today’s beer scene, in which a growing number of pubs vie to offer the best possible range of beers. Many pubs present these with social events, such as mini beer festivals, beer tastings and matching food with beer. Initiatives such as Cask Ale Week (21 Sept – 1 Oct), which encourages pubs to celebrate cask ale, helps to drive this trend.

Paul Nunny, instigator of Cask Ale Week says: “There’s plenty to celebrate. There are now 1,700 breweries across the country, nearly all producing natural, cask-conditioned ale. With brewers becoming more and more adventurous in the style and flavour of beers they produce, choice has never been better.

“With over 10,000 different real ales produced each year, there is a beer to suit every palate. Cask Ale Week reminds people to go to the pub and try some of them! ”

The Guide reports that breweries are continuing to open to meet the insatiable demand for real ale, with 261 new breweries in the latest edition.

Roger Protz, Editor of the Good Beer Guide says: “The first edition of the Good Beer Guide was a call to arms for beer lovers at a time when the brewing industry was in dire trouble after a frenzy of mergers which created six large national brewing groups. These breweries owned more than half of the country’s pubs and flooded them with pressurised keg beer which was of a quality that would be laughable today.

“How the beer world has changed! Today, in spite of closures, a growing number of pubs clamber to offer the best possible range of real ales and we are still seeing remarkable growth in the brewing sector.”

Roger Protz will step down from editing the Good Beer Guide this year after 24 editions.

He adds: “It’s been a great honour to contribute to the Good Beer Guide, which has played such as pivotal role in shaping the brewing industry over the last 45 years. I look forward to the story that will be told about the next 45 years of beer.”

The Good Beer Guide is now on sale and available to purchase for £12.99 at


Media Contact:

CAMRA Press Office

01727 337863


Images of Roger Protz are available here

Images of the five pubs that have been in every single Good Beer Guide are available here.

Images of Top 16 regional Pub of the Year winners are available here.

Notes to Editor:

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is a not-for-profit consumer group with nearly 190,000 members that has been operating since 1971. Our vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community.

About the Good Beer Guide:

The Good Beer Guide is the original independent guide to good beer and good pubs. Now in its 45th edition, the fully revised and updated Guide recommends pubs in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and offshore islands that serve the best real ale.

The Guide is researched by unpaid and independent volunteers across the UK with every pub featured in the guidebook visited at least once for assessment. It is the UK’s best-selling beer and pub guide based on combined trade and direct sales.

The Good Beer Guide is now on sale and available to purchase for £12.99 at