Good Beer Guide selection – How does it work?

The Good Beer Guide (GBG) is published annually each September but there is little or no explanation of how the pubs are selected.

I hope the following explanation of what our branch does year by year helps to make this clear: 

In our West Dorset area, the selection process is overseen by the elected committee of local CAMRA members and managed by a separately elected GBG Coordinator.
The process is governed by a set of principles, these are:

  • A. Beer Quality is the over-riding consideration.
  • B. Consistency over the whole year must be taken into account.
  • C. A good geographical spread is desirable in a national guide.
    (In order to achieve this we sub-divide our area into a number of towns/regions, based on postcode.)

The process we follow is simple and is summarised below. More detail is given in the document below.

  1. CAMRA Members visit pubs during the year and record beer scores assessing the quality of the beer.
  2. Pubs become eligible when they have had sufficient beer scores recorded in CAMRAs National Beer Scoring System.
    (Urban pubs need at least scores on ten different days by ten different members, for rural pubs it is six days and six members.)
  3. Over the course of the year at branch meetings we review all beer scores regularly to ensure fairness and consistency in scoring.
  4. At the end of the year this beer quality information is used to select the highest scoring pub in each town/region.
  5. A vote is used to rank further pubs in each town/region. Pubs with the highest scores are chosen first to fill available “slots”.
    Members may attend selection meetings and may vote if they have submitted beer scores in the last twelve months.

So for a pub to get into the GBG it must have demonstrated the greatest level of consistency and availability of real ale in its local area. 

A consequence of following this process is that a pub may perform at the same level in a following year, but may not make it into the guide because other pubs in the local area are judged to have been more consistent over the year. 

I hope that makes things clear …

Dave Harris, Chairman, West Dorset CAMRA