That last article mentioned our struggle to define what a "LocAle" should be round here. Many of us were keen to include all Cambridgeshire breweries, including Elgoods and Oakham, despite their geographical distance. Conversely, including Greene King (whose Bury brewery is only 12 miles from our eastern border) didn't seem right. Nothing here against Greene King, who brew some fine real ales, but they're very much a national rather than a local brewer. We decided therefore to consult on a proposal to include all Cambs-brewed beers plus any produced within 10 miles of our boundary, thus hooking in Potton and Buntingford breweries).

The response has been mixed to say the least. In particular, we heard from Steve Westby of Nottingham Branch, who master-minded the original scheme. He pointed out that "bending the rules" to include the likes of non-local breweries like Elgoods could bring the scheme into disrepute. He also felt that the 10-miles-from-the-boundary proposal was flawed, especially as most people won't know where our boundaries lie.

Anyway, we've gone back to the drawing board and agreed to define LocAles as any which are brewed within a 15 miles radius of each pub's door. This means than some beers will be LocAles for some of our pubs and not for others but that's OK.

The main drawback with this scheme is the lack of local breweries! We have the superb Milton Brewery of course and nearly all our pubs are less than 15 miles from it. There's also Cambridge Moonshine which recently moved into bigger premises and so should be able to offer its distinctive award-winning beers more widely. Many pubs in the south and west of our area are within 15 miles of the Potton and Buntingford plants (the latter is actually near Royston so most of Cambridge itself is within its zone). City of Cambridge beers are currently being contract brewed in Oxfordshire and don't therefore qualify. Fenland brewery is in administration at the moment but if it survives then it's a LocAle for much of the north of our area. A handful of pubs in the east of our area are in range of Old Cannon in Bury St Edmunds. Finally there are the tiny outfits of Devils Dyke (only sold at Reach Dyke's End at the moment) and Kilderkin (with one regular local outlet for its real-ale-in-a-bottle). Technically, Greene King has the same coverage as Old Cannon as a LocAle.

The main obstacle to greater availability of LocAles is, of course, the fact that many licensees would love to sell them but simply can't. This is because they're tied to a brewery like Greene King or a pub company like Punch or Enterprise, none of whom currently have any of our LocAles on their lists of available beers. We will try to persuade them of the benefits to both licensees and themselves of changing this position but in the meantime we're dependent largely on free houses to fly the LocAle flag. The list below shows the present position as we understand it; please tell us of any necessary additions or deletions.

Pubs selling LocAles - November 2008

ADC Theatre Bar
two Milton beers
Cambridge Blue
usually a Milton beer
Cambridge Chop House
nearly always a Milton and/or Buntingford beer
often has Milton
Elm Tree
normally has Milton
Milton Pegasus semi-permanent and sometimes another
Kingston Arms
sometimes has a LocAle guest
Regent Hotel
Kilderkin Double (bottled)
St Radegund
a Milton beer or two
Red House
often has Potton
Dykes End
two Devils Dyke beers
Little Wilbraham
Hole in the Wall
sometimes has a LocAle