Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood

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SPBW Shield

The Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood (SPBW), founded in 1963, is the oldest consumer-based group interested in stimulating the brewing of, increasing the awareness of, and encouraging the drinking of cask conditioned real ale.[1][2][3]


The SPBW was founded on 6 December 1963 at the Rising Sun in Epsom, England[2][4] out of a concern for a perceived decline in both quality and palatability of beer. This was attributed to the increasing use of gas pressure dispense and the introduction of keg beers.[4]

In 1963 wooden casks were still regarded as synonymous with traditional draught beer. As metal casks rapidly replaced wooden ones, the Society relaxed its principles accordingly. Today the SPBW is more concerned with the contents than the container, but the original name has been retained for the sake of tradition.[4]


The SPBW's aims are similar to those of CAMRA, but the emphasis is on activity within its autonomous branches, which is mainly of a social nature. (CAMRA's approach has been called "more vigorous".)[5] The SPBW's National Executive Committee maintains contact with breweries and other relevant bodies on issues of concern. It produces a quarterly magazine, Pint in Hand, and organizes an annual "National Weekend".[4]

There has been a notable increase in recent years in the use of wooden casks, either for maturation or dispense of beer. The National Executive Committee closely monitors this trend and maintains a record of brewers producing, and pubs serving actual 'beer from the wood.'

London Pub of the Year[edit]

The SPBW annually chooses a London Pub of the Year (LPOTY). The competition was launched in 1980 as a reaction to a "best London pub" competition in a London evening paper, in which beer did not seem to be a significant criterion.[6] A blog is kept of the LPOTY scoring adventure during the run-up to the award.[7]

Other branches, in particular the Northern Ireland branch, also present local "Pub of the Year" awards.[8]

50th anniversary[edit]

Formed in 1963, the Society celebrated its 50th anniversary with many events during the whole of 2013. Although mainly based in London, its branches were also keen to celebrate this birthday with events of their own.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About the Chesapeake Bay Branch of SPBW". Retrieved 6 October 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Kitsock, Greg (2 August 2010). "All We Can Eat - Beer: Wooden you like a pint?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Alan J. Buglass, ed. (14 February 2011). Handbook of Alcoholic Beverages: Technical, Analytical and Nutritional Aspects. John Wiley & Sons. p. 44. ISBN 0470512024. In the UK, the Society for Preservation of Beer from the Wood (SPBW) and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have been fighting against the monopolizing and rationalizing tendencies of big breweries and cider companies since 1963 and 1972, respectively. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood - HISTORY Page". Retrieved 6 October 2008. 
  5. ^ Ian S. Hornsey (2003). A history of beer and brewing. Cambridge, England: The Royal Society of Chemistry. p. 679. ISBN 0-85404-630-5. Retrieved 27 April 2013. The concept of an organisation devoted to the salvation of British beer was not a new one, indeed, the Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood (SPBW) had been formed several years earlier, but CAMRA's approach was a far more vigorous one, and seemed suited to the mood of the time. 
  6. ^ "Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood - NEWS Page". Retrieved 6 October 2008. 
  7. ^ "Society for the Preservation of Beers from the Wood - LPOTY Page". Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "SPBW NI Pub of the Year Award". Retrieved 18 October 2011. 

External links[edit]