THE TOWN's popular beer and cider festival recorded a deficit last year, Reading's Campaign for Real Ale [CAMRA] has revealed.

Reading Beer and Cider festival was cast into doubt recently when CAMRA saw several of its committee members quit their roles.

However, new volunteers stepped up to the mantle and stopped the branch from calling its last orders.

But the first committee meeting under the new regime revealed last year's Beer and Festival recorded an overall loss.

Now, the branch has cast further doubt over the future of the popular extravaganza.

Regional director Carl Griffin, said: "Beer festivals, and particularly large festivals like Reading, are very important campaigning and money raising events for CAMRA. 

"CAMRA is reliant on money from Reading beer festival to campaign successfully at a national level to improve the fortunes for pubs, brewers and consumers.

"We have a very dedicated team of people at CAMRA HQ, St Albans, who help facilitate our huge influence at Westminster and within the devolved administrations.  "Unfortunately this costs a small fortune so a successful Reading beer festival helps us wield significant clout at a political level."

Last year's festival was the first one to record a deficit since 2012.

Between 2012 and 2017 the festivals contributed a significant amount towards funding CAMRA's campaigns.

Members discussed several strategies to prevent a deficit this year and a report was handed over to the CAMRA's national finance team for assessment.

Number crunchers will now decide whether this year's festival will proceed.

Mr Griffin added: "On top of the money aspect, beer festivals also raise the profile of real ale, are our biggest drivers of recruitment and gets CAMRA’s name in the media.  You also encourage extra people to become actively involved in Reading Branch, as well as neighbouring branches. Not least, Reading hosts the National Cider and Perry Championship finals, which is a hugely important campaigning activity for CAMRA.”