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Handpump Hijack: CAMRA urges Business Secretary to act over ‘Fresh Ale’ misleading dispense method

Leading UK consumer group asks Kemi Badenoch to intervene to allow National Trading Standards to investigate

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has written to the Business Secretary as part of their campaign to raise awareness of what they claim to be misleading consumer practices.

In the letter, the Campaign explains that National Trading Standards have said that they don’t have the powers to investigate the ‘Fresh Ale’ concept launched by Carlsberg Marton’s Brewing Company, which involves serving filtered and kegged beer through handpumps that are usually used exclusively for cask-conditioned beer.

National Trading Standards reported that they are unable to investigate ‘Fresh Ale’ at a national level, despite their predecessor agency, the Local Authority Co-ordinating Body on Trading Standards (LACOTS), carrying out a similar investigation in the 1980s.

The investigation by LACOTS found that using handpumps to dispense kegged beer was misleading to consumers, and they issued advice to all local Trading Standards officers.

The Campaign has also submitted a formal complaint to West Northamptonshire Trading Standards, who are believed to have a ‘primary authority’ agreement in place with Carlsberg Ltd, the global brewer forming just over half of the CMBC Joint Venture.

In the letter to the Business Secretary, CAMRA Real Ale, Cider and Perry Campaigns Director Gillian Hough said:

“The impact of this perniciously misleading form of dispense will affect the reputation and availability of cask-conditioned beer in all pubs and social clubs – an integral part of British heritage and pub culture.

“It is a self-evident fact that consumers should be as fully informed as possible about the product they are buying at the point of dispense. CAMRA is deeply concerned because, for beer drinkers, the use of a handpump to dispense beer is an indication that the beer is cask-conditioned, which these products are not. “

Nik Antona, CAMRA Chairman said:

“We are now asking the Business Secretary to step in and allow National Trading Standards to investigate Carlsberg Marston’s misleading ‘Fresh Ale’ dispense method at a national level.

“Of course, if Carlsberg Marston’s were interested in being transparent, they could simply serve their ‘Fresh Ales’ from keg fonts, and be proud and clear about the characteristics of the beers.”


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