GBG 2023Every year, the branch selects the very best pubs serving cask conditioned and live beer in the branch area for inclusion in CAMRA's flagship publication The Good Beer Guide.

The branch is currently allocated 14 places for pubs in the Greater Manchester region and one in the Cheshire region. Pubs are not "added" or "removed" from the Good Beer Guide - pubs to fill all 15 places are selected each year.

The Guide is usually published in September but the selection process starts afresh some 21 months earlier. In Trafford & Hulme branch, the selection process has four stages.

First stage - Beer Scoring

All CAMRA members can submit 'beer scores' for every live beer they drink in pubs, bars and clubs across the country via the National Beer Scoring Scheme (NBSS). Beer scoring is just what it sounds like - giving a score on the quality of the beer that you drink. Scores can be entered via the website, the Good Beer Guide mobile app and even manually. Scores are recorded against the pub, not against the particular brewery and ale - although providing the brewery and beer name helps the branch. Multiple scores from one user for different beers in the same visit are averaged into one score.

Find out more about the branch's beer scoring process here.

For Good Beer Guide selection, the branch considers all scores submitted in the 12 months before Christmas Day of the year preceding publication - i.e. for the 2024 Good Beer Guide, scores from 26th December 2022 to 25th December 2023 are considered.

Second stage - Shortlisting

Every year the branch compiles a "shortlist" of pubs based on the beer scores submitted. 

The beer scores are compiled twice a year for the period from 26th December to 30th June and for the period from 1st July to 25th December .

To be eligible for inclusion in the shortlist, in each of the two six month periods, a pub must have received

  • a minimum of six beer scores (after daily averaging)
  • scores from a minimum of three different scorers
  • scores on a minimum of three different days
  • an average score of 3.0 or more

This process is intended to ensure that beer quality in the pubs which make the shortlist is consistently Good and that
a) A pub cannot make the shortlist purely from one member consistently scoring the beers in the pub highly.
b) A pub cannot make the shortlist purely based on scores from a single branch or other social event which sees a large number of scores submitted on one day.

The branch NBSS Co-ordinator reports to branch meetings once a quarter providing updates on how many pubs have qualifying scores to that point, any pubs which are receiving good scores but don't have enough visits to qualify and any pubs which have previously been shortlisted but don't currently have qualifying beer scores.

The final shortlist is presented at the January branch meeting in the year of publication of the Good Beer Guide.

Third stage - Surveying

All pubs on the shortlist in January are surveyed in person by a branch member. The surveyor is tasked with checking that there are no changes to the pubs' management that might affect consistent beer quality - for example that the manager or main person responsible for the cellar has left the pub (or is leaving).

Normally a pub which has had a major change of management or cellar keeping in the six months before surveying is deemed ineligible but exceptions can be made when other personnel are unchanged or the incoming personnel have a previous pedigree of running Good Beer Guide pubs.

Surveyors also ensure that the information which will appear in the Good Beer Guide and the Good Beer Guide App is correct - e.g. opening times, meal times, permanent cask ales, regularly featured breweries and facilities. The surveyor also writes the first draft of the description of the pub which will appear in the Good Beer Guide. The description is limited to 80 words and can be edited by the Good Beer Guide editorial team to ensure it meets the style guidelines for the Guide.

Final stage - Good Beer Guide Selection Meeting  

 In February each year, the branch holds a Good Beer Guide Selection Meeting at a local pub. The meeting is chaired by the branch chair or their deputy.

Any feedback from Good Beer Guide surveys is considered to determine if any pubs need to be removed from the shortlist. 

Members are then asked to vote for the pubs that they believe should be awarded a place in the Guide. This takes place by secret ballot with each member being able to select up to 14 pubs in Greater Manchester and one in Cheshire.  As the branch only selects one pub in Cheshire, members can also vote for no pub to be awarded the Cheshire place. 

Proxy votes are permitted. Any proxy vote for a pub which is deemed ineligible following the surveying stage is voided.

The 14 Greater Manchester and 1 Cheshire pubs receiving the most votes are provisionally awarded a place in the Good Beer Guide. In the event of a tie, a vote on a show of hands of those present at the selection meeting is made. If the show of hands is tied, the chair of the meeting has the casting vote.

The three pubs receiving the next highest number of votes are selected as Reserves. Should any selected pub close, have a change of management or beer quality significantly deteriorate between the selection meeting and the Guide going to press (usually in late July or early August), the pub can be removed and replaced by a pub on the reserve list.

Note that this page details the selection process in Trafford and Hulme branch. Each CAMRA branch has its own process for selection of pubs to the Good Beer Guide. The Good Beer Guide editorial team can also choose to omit pubs during the editing process (for example to adjust the pagination of the guide). The Good Beer Guide Editor's decision is final.

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