Drinkers and pub-goers in Manchester have shown so much interest in the future of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) that a meeting this Saturday at the Deansgate Tavern on the organisation's Revitalisation Project is a ‘sell-out'.
The meeting, which is the first in the North West, is one of 50 arranged across the country to consult members. Those missing out on this one will still have their chance to listen and debate the key issues at other meetings in the area - at Chester on 7 May, East Didsbury 20 July, Liverpool 6 August and Preston 15 September.
CAMRA's Head of Communications Tom Stainer said: "All around the country there's been incredible interest in our revitalisation programme. As well as the consultation meetings, more than 20,000 members nationwide have completed an online or postal questionnaire to offer their views on where they think we should be heading in the years ahead.
"Every effort is being made to consult with as many as possible of nearly 180,000 members to ask them who and what it should represent in the future."
The rise of craft beer and a resurgence of interest in beer in recent years, plus renewed threats to pubs, have challenged CAMRA to review if it is best positioned to represent its members in the future.
Options include becoming a consumer organisation for all beer drinkers, all pub-goers regardless of what they drink, or even all alcohol drinkers, regardless of where they drink it.
CAMRA founder member and Revitalisation Project Chairman Michael Hardman said: "This could mark a fundamental turning point for the Campaign for Real Ale.
"It's a chance for our members to tell us who we should represent in the future and for what we should be campaigning."
He added: "If you care about beer and pubs but haven't got round to joining yet, we still want to hear from you! Come along to one of our events. If you're not already a member you can you can still complete the survey and even come along to a meeting if you join CAMRA on the door."
CAMRA members can sign up to attend one of the meetings by logging on to http://www.camra.org.uk/revitalisation