Laurence Fryer, 60, Vice President of the Mildmay Club
"I’ve been a member of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) for a long time, since 1981 when I was 21.
It was a consumer movement that was started in the early 1970s when beer was not very pleasant and it was very bland and boring.
I started brewing beer when I was 14. It was a fascination with chemistry and I thought I could make beer, that’s chemicals.
I’m very passionate about good quality beer and great pubs. And right now, pubs and clubs are facing a huge challenge with the fact they can't be open and it’s been very uncertain times for all the hospitality trade.
This comes on the back of many years of falling numbers of pubs for a lot of different reasons and that’s made it very difficult for the hospitality market to survive.
All sorts of things have happened like home entertainment, video games, a healthier lifestyle - so we don’t have a pint on the way home from work anymore. It’s a whole raft of things that have changed.
At the back end of this pandemic, there’s going to be a lot of casualties in the licensed trade and hospitality. Possibly not so much in London because it’s been under pressure for years so those who’ve survived have learned to duck and dive a bit.
Through CAMRA I’ve got to know some lifelong friends. I’ve known people for 40 plus years through the campaign and the fact it’s a national organisation means you can go virtually anywhere in the country and there will be local members.
My favourite ale? It’s a world beer style developed in Britain - India pale ale. I hope I can enjoy one with you in the Mildmay club soon."
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