Committee Meeting – 11 June 2022

This meeting was held at the Victoria, Beeston on Saturday 11 June 2022. Apologies were received from Ann Mace, Chris Excell, Chris Holmes, and Sean Murphy. Also present were Paul Horrocks (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.)

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved in full.

Various auctions had been notified ‘between meetings’ and 1,150 McMullen Pref Ords had been acquired. Excluding the Brewdog holding, acquisition of shares held in a deceased member’s estate was now proceeding apace, albeit the holding in Twickenham Fine Ales was subject to pre-emption rights, and we would have to ‘wait and see’.

On administration matters, the recent What’s Brewing/Beer ad, in conjunction with a published article written by a Committee member, had seen 10 new members sign up so far, albeit countered by further leavers; withdrawals had exceeded contributions during May, a rare event that has only occurred once in the recent past.

All set for next week’s AGM in terms of attendee numbers, general arrangements etc.

Brewery trips – 2022 program going well and a farewell trip to Cantillon would also now be arranged (limited numbers, unfortunately).

A Committee member was congratulated on having recently been appointed to CAMRA’s National Finance Committee.

With significant fund withdrawals continuing (deceased estates; members exiting CAMRA; routine cash requirements in these inflationary times etc) a suggestion to increase the 0.5% ‘spread’ to 1% was accepted.

Investee AGMs and other known corporate activity noted and discussed.

Generally, and in advance of the AGM specifically, the Committee’s overall stance towards occasional investment in smaller, illiquid players was debated at some length and confirmed.

With the ‘buffer’ now set at £400K, and only a limited amount to invest anyway, a decision was taken to place £20K total into 4 existing investees, though, as per usual, CMIC will participate in the annual Joseph Holt bargain matching exercise.

Committee Meeting – 14 May 2022

This meeting was held at the Ostrich, Bristol (Butcombe) on Saturday, 14 May 2022. Apologies were received from Ann Mace, Chris Excell, Ian Brindley, Chris Holmes, and Sean Murphy. Also present were Paul Horrocks (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.).

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved without comment.

No fewer than nine share auctions had been advised by brokers since the previous meeting: Wadworth (x5); Hydes (x1) and McMullen (x3). Committee voting (via e-mail) had generally been in favour of not proceeding, but one McMullen bid had gone forward and been successful. An opportunity to increase the Club’s Ordinary holding in Heavitree, but only by a nominal amount, had also been taken up.

Hadfields, the reporting accountants, had visited Stockport in early April to undertake their year-end work and had now issued their clearance letter.

In respect of membership, the ‘net leaver’ trend continues, and overall member numbers have now fallen to (slightly) below 3,000. A recently placed ad in Spring’s What’s Brewing/Beer would hopefully compensate for some of this? A member has recently suggested allowing long term CAMRA/CMIC members to remain in latter if they exit former – for discussion at AGM.

The share buy-back offer recently proposed by overseas investee, Cantillon, was discussed and agreed.

Upcoming investee AGMs were noted and discussed, along with corporate activity at other investees and targets.

The year-end valuation meeting with broker, James Sharp, had taken place recently – nothing contentious to report.

With limited new money to invest anyway and an ever-increasing, time-contingent liability to settle deceased members’ estates, a decision was quickly taken to make no new investment at this point in time and to increase the buffer to £400K (from £300K).

Committee Meeting – 5 March 2022

This meeting was held at the Briar Rose, Birmingham (Wetherspoon) on Saturday, 5 March 2022. Apologies were received from Dave Goodwin, Sean Murphy, Chris Excell, and Ann Mace. Also present were Paul Horrocks (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec).

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved, but with clarification requested of the terms of the proposed ad spend with CAMRA.

Representatives from Windsor and Eton Brewery presented to the Committee on their brewery’s history, its cask credentials, and plans/ambitions for the future.

Admin matters discussed included declining member numbers (58 year-to-date) and possible write-offs of nominal holdings held by non-contactable members etc.

Shares in Wadworth and Hydes had been offered at auction ‘between meetings’ with majority ‘no’ votes received in all instances. Committee members encouraged to redouble their efforts to actually cast their votes on such occasions!

Serious progress now being made towards June’s AGM – Peter Darby confirmed as speaker and a £2/head increase in attendee cost debated and agreed to.

A paper had been pre-circulated on 2022 brewery trips, in particular Holts, Shepherd Neame, Fullers, Black Sheep, and Adnams. Although member take-up is perhaps lower than previously, these remain popular, and feedback indicates they are well received. Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine now casting serious doubt on the Finland/Estonia trip for the foreseeable.

Investee AGMs and other corporate activity noted and debated. In particular, Bedlam will receive some further, albeit limited, support.

As for new investment, majority view was that none should be made at this point in time.

Committee Meeting – 29 January 2022

This meeting was held at Castle Rock Brewery, Nottingham on Saturday 29 January 2022. Apologies were received from Ann Mace, Bob Crumpton and Dave Goodwin. Also present were Paul Horrocks and Mike Sangster (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.)

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved with only minor comment.

In respect of BME, Nick Metcalfe reported on the various share acquisition opportunities which had arisen since the previous Committee meeting, three of which had been successfully pursued (Wadworth and Hydes [x2]). These actions were noted and approved.

Several admin matters discussed particularly the continuing decline in year-to-date membership numbers. Various ideas considered to arrest this – one was an agreement to place a paid advertisement in CAMRA’s summer ‘Beer’ publication (in addition to which an attempt would be made to recruit further branch ambassadors and to script/place further articles for consideration for CAMRA’s What’s Brewing platform).

Some member feedback successfully dealt with; also, speaker for 2022 AGM noted as having confirmed his acceptance.

Holts and Shepherd Neame brewery trips both confirmed as ‘in the book’ for February and March, respectively (Black Sheep now to be firmed up for June/July, if possible) and members have also expressed interest in trips to Fullers (Asahi) and Adnams. ‘Finland/Estonia 2022’ still there on the back-burner, but ongoing Covid restrictions presently indicating September 2022 at the earliest.

Reports on investee activity, including formal notice of West Berkshire administration, received. Carrying value of Black Eagle reviewed.

Report-backs on Committee attendance at recent M+B and Marston’s AGMs.

Recent BBC Scotland documentary on BrewDog discussed. The Executor of a deceased CMIC member had offered a portfolio to Club on terms to be agreed, including some BrewDog shares. Agreement to pursue the offer, but without BrewDog. Recent receipt of finance-raising prospectus from Oakman Inns also noted and discussed.

Further lengthy discussion on micro-brewery investment policy – some differences of opinion, but a consensus that small investments would continue to be made for the right candidates. Existing investment in micros/illiquids should also henceforth be highlighted on shareholding portfolio exhibited to members quarterly.

Allens drew attention to the significant accruing liability arising from deceased members’ estates.  Agreement reached that new investment should be restricted to just three existing investees.

Committee Meeting – 18 December 2021

Having been scheduled for Castle Rock Brewery, Nottingham, this meeting was held via Zoom on Saturday, 18 December 2021 because of concerns over the C-19 Omicron variant. Apologies were received from Ann Mace and Bob Crumpton. Also present were Paul Horrocks and Mike Sangster (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.)

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved without comment.

Mike Sangster was welcomed to his first meeting.

Nick Metcalfe reported significant activity on the BME front over the 2-month period since the last Committee meeting. All issues noted and ratified by the Committee (in particular, success in a recent auction of Hydes ‘B’ Ordinary shares).

Admin issues dealt with, including Barclays Bank signatory update, recent performance of James Sharp, year-to-date joiners and leavers stats etc.

After full and final discussion, a decision was taken to ask Peter Darby (an authority on hops) whether he would be kind enough to address the 2022 AGM.

Lengthy discussion on possible brewery trips in 2022, with Holts, Shepherd Neame and Black Sheep emerging as favourites, all three having already agreed to the proposition in principle, albeit with C19-influenced restriction on attendee numbers. Committee ‘leads’ to firm up dates with Admin Team, organize publicity etc.

Report-backs were received on existing investees, including Loungers and West Berkshire. Loungers’ present stance on ‘cask’ isn’t ideal in terms of CMIC’s remit, and recent developments at West Berkshire indicate a serious, imminent problem. Committee members reported back on AGM/shareholder meetings at Shepherd Neame and Hydes, respectively. BrewDog noted as continuing to attract press attention in respect of possible flotation.

Lengthy round-the-table on investment policy in micro-breweries, along the lines should we or shouldn’t we, and if so how much? Inconclusive and to be revisited – 2017 paper on this subject to be refreshed and possibility of a joint workshop with SIBA on this subject also raised.

With monies available to invest, a further round-the-table as to investment appetite, eventually agreeing that some monies should be invested now into 6 existing investees.

Chair offered best wishes to all for a safe and happy Xmas and New Year.

Committee Meeting – 9 October 2021

This meeting was held at the offices of Allens at Stockport on Saturday, 9 October 2021. Apologies were received from Dave Goodwin, Sean Murphy, Chris Excell, John Westlake, Chris Holmes, and Ian Brindley. Also present were Paul Horrocks and Richard Dawson (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec).

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved without comment.

Allens explained to the meeting (having previously advised the Chair via telephone) that Martin Hilton wished to stand down from the CMIC Admin Team because of pressures of other work and then outlined the continuity arrangements the firm proposed to put in place to ensure business-as-usual (to include new faces, Mike Sangster and Paul Wright).  Committee put on record their thanks for a job well done.

‘Between meeting events’ (BME) were largely dealt with by a detailed note pre-circulated to the Committee by Nick Metcalfe. The share related issues were all noted and approved.

The recent AGM was discussed at some length – although a little disappointing in terms of member questions and challenges on the day itself, the meeting was considered a great success and a welcome relief from lockdown tribulations. Member feedback received had invariably been positive and supportive.

Upcoming investee AGMs were noted (x2), with Committee members indicating their intentions to attend both.

A hard copy of the Club’s rules, as amended following the AGM, was circulated and the Committee confirmed that they accepted the revisions as correct.

Various ‘report backs’ were received on existing investees (in particular Black Sheep, Black Eagle and New River Retail), and recent developments at BrewDog noted.

With monies to invest, a round-the-table produced a spectrum of views, eventually settling on placing £100K into 6 existing investees.

With the grapevine suggesting a handful of breweries are about to restart their tour/visit programs, the Committee agreed to put their thinking caps on with a view to proposing some CMIC action on this front early in 2022.

Committee Meeting – 7 August 2021

This meeting was held at The Victoria Hotel, Beeston on Saturday, 7 August 2021. Apologies were received from AM, CB, BC, DG and SM. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec).

The Chairman welcomed the Committee to its first face-to-face meeting since February 2020.

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved without comment.

‘Between-meeting’ share related activity was noted and approved.

All papers necessary for the 2021 AGM now uploaded to the website; the recent CAMRA ‘ad’ had resulted in 2 new joiners and a short article authored by Committee members had been published in the most recent digital What’s Brewing. Once again, members leaving and citing ‘leaving CAMRA’ as their reason for doing so was a point of concern.

Some critical member feedback on ‘modern slavery’ had been received – JNH to respond.

Arrangements for the AGM on 28 August were fine-tuned and generally considered to be in good order. Some thought was given (but more required please…) on a guest speaker for the 2022 AGM.

Upcoming investee AGMs were all noted, as well as other activity and publicity at other investees and targets, in particular the emerging position at New River Retail/Hawthorn Leisure.

Following a recent meeting between JNH/NK and Allens, the latter’s services contract was discussed and revisions agreed, with a commencement date of 1 April 2022 and a 3-year stand-still thereafter.

With £166K declared as available to invest, it was agreed to invest £100K now, being £10K into each of 7 existing investees, with the balance to be used to participate in two imminent auctions.

Preliminary discussion about dates and venues for 2022 Committee meetings, with face-to-face considered preferable to Zoom.

Committee Meeting – 10 July 2021

This meeting was held via Zoom on Saturday, 10 July 2021. Apologies were received from AM, JW and BC. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved without comment.

The Committee agreed the terms of a pre-circulated paper on individual roles and responsibilities – bank signatories, Directors and trustee shareholders in CMIC Ltd etc – and the paper was appended to the minutes as a permanent record.

‘Between-meeting’ share related and other associated activity discussed and ratified, in particular the investment decisions made via e-mail on 15 June.

Brief joiners and leavers update provided by MXH, who also advised that the recently received Youngs’ discount vouchers were proving popular with the members.

As predicted, guest speaker for the rescheduled AGM now not available – Committee agreement to proceed without one this year. 18 June was agreed as the date for the 2022 AGM.

CMIC’s Scottish Widows account reported as having been closed and residual funds transferred across to Barclays.

Some discussion on Committee member individual portfolio allocations, and a revised strategy was agreed to try to ensure CMIC always casts its vote at all future investee AGMs.

With £192K declared as available to invest, the usual round-the-table discussion took place – agreed £75K total should be invested across 5 existing investees.

Committee Meeting – 8 May 2021

This meeting was held via Zoom on Saturday 8 May 2021. Apologies were received from Ann Mace and Bob Crumpton. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved, subject to minor amendment, and previous Action Points agreed as having been dealt with.

It was reported, encouragingly, that CMIC now had 11 branch ambassadors – an existing, themed PowerPoint presentation would be further refined and made generally available to all actual and potential ambassadors.

April contributions noted as a monthly record (£221K), with withdrawals a record monthly low (£18K).

Member feedback received on the ‘modern slavery’ and its possible existence in the supply chains of CMIC investees. Agreed as something the Committee needs to be alert to and a review of investees’ annual report disclosures on this matter will be undertaken over time.

Prospects for the July AGM taking place at Beeston still considered favorable but agreed to defer a final decision until shortly after indoor reopening date on 17 May subject to Government guidance. Feedback on trading post-April outdoor reopening date all good.

Permission had been received from CAMRA to upload the parliamentary inquiry paper (sponsor Charlotte Nichols MP) to the CMIC site and this would be done forthwith. Ongoing issue regarding a possible ‘pubs recovery fund’ continuing to draw blanks and agreed it would now be dropped as an agenda item.

Approximately £200K notified as available to invest – a round-the-table, after noting there were no obvious contenders and the continuing uncertainties etc, initially agreed not to invest anything, but, on reflection, to allocate £20K each into 5 existing investees with a known ‘tourism angle’ to their activities.

Committee Meeting – 12 June 2021

This meeting was held via Zoom on Saturday, 12 June 2021. Apologies were received from CRH. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved without comment.

‘Between-meeting’ share related and other associated activity was discussed and ratified.

A discounted-rate, quarter page ‘we-are-here’ advertisement with CAMRA was discussed and agreed to.

A small number of proposed revisions to the Club rules had been pre-circulated to the Committee; these were discussed, amended where necessary, and should now go forward to the membership for their consideration at the upcoming AGM.

Physical AGM at Beeston still considered feasible, but imminent government announcement (14 June) regarding ‘unlocking’ means that it cannot realistically proceed on 17 July, so running it on the reserve date, 28 August, agreed. Likely to hinder guest speaker arrangements. Urgent publicity to membership required over this.

Upcoming investee AGMs were all noted, as well as other activity and publicity at other investees and targets.

With £173K declared as available to invest, the usual round-the-table discussion took place – agreed that £75K should be the investment ceiling for now, with details to be worked out via an e-mail discussion on 15 June, following the previous day’s government announcement.

Committee Meeting – 10 April 2021

This meeting was held via Zoom on Saturday 10 April 2021. Apologies were received from John Westlake and Ann Mace. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allen’s) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved, and previous Action Points agreed as having been dealt with.

‘Investment’ was dealt with first – with little in the way of funds available to invest (excluding the buffer), a unanimous decision was quickly reached to make no investment at all this month.

A report-back of the James Sharp investment valuation meeting was provided – all non-listed valuations agreed, and various service/admin matters also dealt with.

It was noted that no ‘trimming’ of M+B holding had been considered appropriate – see last Action Points.

Hadfields, CMIC’s reporting accountants, visit to Stockport to verify/agree the year end accounts had resulted in no changes being made to any of the figures previously presented to the Committee.

March’s Club Matters, including Chairman’s year-end report etc, had been successfully compiled, now with printers and to be distributed to full membership next week.

AGM at Beeston still considered to be on-track; social distancing regime will hopefully be a thing of the past by 17 July so no need yet to consider limiting the number of attendees beyond normal capacity.

Website matters – Committee should review, and if necessary, update their ‘biopics; the recent small brewers funding petition to be uploaded for the benefit of CMIC members who might otherwise have missed it; some unauthorised wording to be removed.
Attempts to stimulate and further develop the cause of a ‘pub / brewer recovery fund’ still drawing a blank – there is currently nobody in the marketplace, it seems, interested in such a proposition.

Agreed that no attempts would be made to try to arrange any UK brewery visits for the remainder of 2021. Some possible for next year discussed.

Customary round-the-table discussion about recent press announcements and other developments affecting investees.

Dates and times of future meetings confirmed through to December 2021.

Committee Meeting – 6 March 2021

This meeting was held via Zoom on Saturday 6 March 2021. No apologies were received. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved, subject to one minor amendment, and previous Action Points agreed as having been dealt with.

‘Between meeting’ activity reported as follows: the Shepherd Neame share purchase approved last time had not in the event been made – trading price considered too high; approved investment in Heavitree still pending; limited success only in the recent McMullen auction; and, most importantly and upon a majority vote of the Committee, CMIC had taken up its full entitlement in the recent M+B placing (£308K).

With encouraging developments generally regarding Covid and lockdown release, the Chairman advised that the date of 17 July had been penciled-in with The Victoria at Beeston for a physical AGM. Agreed, with a reserve date of 28 August also to be penciled in. With reversal still a possibility here, efforts to continue behind-the-scenes planning for another virtual AGM, this time with some member ‘attendance’.

‘Estonia 2021’, still notionally on the stocks for the Autumn, should not now be pursued, but rather rebadged as Estonia 2022, with the continuing goodwill and agreement of its organiser Iain Loe.

James Sharp year end valuation meeting (via Zoom) advised for 25 March.

Chairman advised of efforts on several fronts to talk to potentially interested parties around the subject of a possible ‘Covid recovery fund’ for pubs, including EIS – continuing.

Usual update on investees, in particular Black Sheep and Black Eagle, but also including West Berks, Marston’s and Shaftesbury.

With the significant M+B investment recently made, there were, in effect, no further funds to invest at this point in time without disturbing the customary £300K buffer arrangement. Agreed no new investments to be made, also that an eye be kept on the M+B share price over the next few days with a view to possibly selling some of the holding, if considered beneficial.

Committee Meeting – 6 February 2021

This meeting was held via Zoom on Saturday 6 February 2021. Apologies were received from Chris Holmes. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allen’s) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved, subject to one minor amendment, and previous Action Points agreed as having been dealt with.

Should it proceed as hoped, the Chairman reported that a speaker had been (provisionally) secured for this year’s AGM.

On the Admin front, a new web host was now in place and load speed should improve as a consequence; net year-to-date membership increase now advised as an encouraging 21 (7.5% of joiners now female) and James Sharp had instructed all CMIC nominee held investees to send all their circulars etc direct to the Admin team at Stockport.

Some ‘between meeting’ share acquisitions, or auction bids, which had been agreed to by the Committee via e-mail, – Hydes, Wadworth, McMullen and Heavitree – were ratified.

Various pieces of member feedback had been received, including the identification of an Investment Trust considered suitable for investment by CMIC; Wetherspoons, What’s Brewing and the possibility of a ‘Covid recovery fund’ for distressed pubs. All discussed at length and various actions agreed.

The suggested revisions to club rules were exhibited and agreed – tempting, perhaps, to refresh all the rules (>30 years old!), but a big job and agreed as something for another day.

Lengthy state-of-the-nation discussion about activity in the marketplace – obviously quite vibrant at the moment, eg Marston’s (unsolicited takeover attempt); Wetherspoons and M+B (both fundraising) etc.

With c£277K available to invest, it was agreed that £200K be invested, in differing tranches, into 8 existing investees.

Committee Meeting – 9 January 2021

This meeting was held via Zoom on Saturday 9 January 2021. Apologies were received from John Westlake and Neil Kellett. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allen’s) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved, and previous Action Points agreed as having been dealt with.

There was a net membership gain so far this year with no leavers at all during December. A website usage ‘traffic report’ was exhibited and discussed – current page load speed considered too slow but web administrator now aware and improving it. Lockdown notwithstanding, Committee members had still ‘attended’ various investee AGMs, presentations etc during 2020 and a summary note of these would be prepared and uploaded to website.

Need to review Club rules discussed – agreed no need to formalize a Deputy Chairman position, but suggested revisions as to ‘quorum’ and the operation of virtual AGMs would be prepared and offered to the members at the 2021 AGM.

Investee updates received in respect of Black Eagle, Black Sheep et al. Emerging position at M+B, and its possible repercussions for CMIC, of particular note.

Circa £300K considered to be available for investment, and a round-the-table discussion, informed also by pre-meeting input from the brokers, indicated an appetite for investing approximately half these funds, across geographies, into 7 existing investees (£140K total), plus participation in upcoming Wadworth’s Pref auction (£25K, if successful in full). The case for investing in 3 named micros was also discussed but decided against.

Forthcoming Zoom meetings confirmed for Saturdays, February through to June, with a tentative AGM date of 12 June.

Committee Meeting – 5 December 2020

This meeting was held virtually via ZOOM on Saturday 5 December. No apologies were received. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.)

Year-to-date membership now recording a net gain of 12. Noted that Club is now included on AssetMatch’s electronic investment notification list. CMIC’s website can occasionally appear ‘slow to load’ – to be queried with web administrator. No new member feedback received. Those members who had suggested slogans to be thanked for their efforts, albeit Committee has agreed not to pursue for the time being.

Round-the-table discussion regarding recent activity at various investees and prospects, in particular Black Sheep, Black Eagle, West Berkshire and New River Retail.

Regarding investments, recent removal of (full) lockdown and publicity on immunisation program etc all indicative of prospects being more encouraging than before, but still perhaps too much false optimism about regarding level and timing of bounce-back – Summer rather than Spring(!?) – and closure still, sadly, a potential outcome for some businesses. Caution must therefore prevail and another modest round of across-the-board investment into a selection of (generally) ‘non-wet leds’ was agreed to – £150K into 8 existing investees.

Committee Meeting

This meeting was held virtually via Zoom on Saturday 7 November. Apologies were received from Sean Murphy. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.)

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved and previous action points agreed as dealt with.

A quarterly ‘traffic report’ supplied by CMIC’s web administrator was reviewed – pleasing to note the number of visits members (and presumably others) are now making to the site. Year-to-date membership still recording an overall net gain.

A lot of largely negative member feedback had been received following the substitution of the investment pie chart for detailed investment stats in September’s Club Matters, and this, together with other feedback, was debated at length. Agreement to reinstate the traditional detail next time around (with the pie chart as well, space permitting). Feedback on the £5K investment ceiling was mixed and it was decided to leave it as is for now. Some slogans had also been submitted, as requested, but it was decided to defer a decision on this.

CMIC voting at recent or forthcoming investee AGMs was discussed, with particular regard to City Pub Group, Thwaites, Loungers and West Berks and various points agreed in respect of these.

Against the backdrop of business now in the throes of a second lockdown and a possible release from it in early December, there was a lengthy ’round-the-table’ regarding the outlook for the various sectors, possible opportunities etc. With uncertainty rife, the consensus view nonetheless was that some investment should be ‘drip-fed’ in now (if nothing else, membership expectations would surely require this) and £80K was agreed to as between six existing investees and one newcomer, Bedlam Brewery.

An industry paper on possible government support for brewers was considered and its sentiments agreed with.

Committee Meeting

This meeting was held virtually via Zoom on Saturday 3 October. Apologies were received from John Westlake and Sean Murphy. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved, and previous action points agreed as having been dealt with.

Membership year-to-date still showing an overall net gain. Admin Team’s ongoing communication with James Sharp was noted and discussed, particularly in relation to the advance notifications by JS of forthcoming investee AGMs and similar such announcements. Committee authorised JS to renew CMIC’s Stock Exchange Legal Entity Identification number (‘LEI’).

The appearance of the ‘Brewer in lockdown’ article in the most recent What’s Brewing was noted approvingly.

It was agreed, with sadness, that the members’ social gathering tentatively planned for December could not realistically now go ahead because of ongoing Covid restrictions; furthermore, enquiries confirmed that the reinstatement of brewery tours was not possible yet.

Various report-backs on the national brewing and retailing scene were made, with a clear agreed consensus that times were indeed very hard out there right now across all sectors. Whilst tempting to invest nothing at all now, a nominal £20K was agreed to, with £5K each going into four existing multinationals.

Committee Meeting

This meeting was held virtually via Zoom on Saturday 12 September. Apologies were received from Iain Loe. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.)

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved, subject to one minor amendment, and previous action points agreed as having been dealt with.

Allens reported a small net loss in membership numbers during August and September-to-date; year-to-date figures, however, still showing a net gain, and member withdrawal requests remain low. A batch of new membership flyers had now been printed and were available for general use. A contractor’s proposal to provide ongoing support services for the ACCESS system was discussed and agreed to.

No new member feedback had been received and the two members previously feeding back on Wetherspoons and the possibility of a ‘rescue fund’ had both been contacted personally.

A Committee member paper on shareholder activism/corporate governance was discussed in detail and a decision taken to upload it to the CMIC website; similarly, an article themed ‘a brewer in lockdown’ would be submitted to the editor of What’s Brewing for possible inclusion.

Updates were provided regarding activity at Black Sheep and Black Eagle, followed by short reports of current developments at various other existing and potential investees. A limited reshuffling of Committee members’ individual portfolio responsibilties was also agreed to.

Wide-ranging discussion as to how lockdown emergence appeared to be playing out across sectors and geographies. Agreed that there would be partial investment only of available funds and a total of £50K was agreed to across three investees, including £20K into recently-identified United Malt, an Australian listed company with real ale credentials in the UK .

Committee Meeting

This meeting was held virtually via Zoom on Saturday 15 August. There were apologies from John Westlake, Bob Crumpton and Nick Metcalfe. Also present were Richard Dawson and Martin Hilton (both Allens).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved and previous action points agreed as having been dealt with.

Allens reported that there were now eleven branch ambassadors and that discussions were taking place with the ‘Access’ contractor regarding the terms of a possible support service going forward. An analysis of the current level of contributions from members indicated that there was no present need to consider an upward revision to the annual investment ceiling.

Feedback had been received from members regarding Wetherspoons and the possibility of a ‘rescue fund’ for small brewers. Both issues to be discussed with CAMRA HQ, with report back in due course, and members to be advised of outcome.

Round-the-table discussion about lockdown relaxations and the prospect of further spikes and further lockdowns being announced. With ‘caution’ currently the main driver, further small investments were agreed in Adnams and Shepherd Neame, with auction bids to be made in Wadworth’s and Hydes. Residual holdings of the Star Investment Club, being wound down finally now, would also be acquired (value c£76K)

Forthcoming Committee meetings confirmed for Saturdays 12 September, 3 October and 7 November (all Zoom); also 5 December (hopefully Nottingham, but subject to Covid-19 developments).

Committee Meeting

This meeting was held virtually via Zoom on Saturday, 18 July 2020. There were apologies from Ann Mace, Chris Holmes and Bob Crumpton. Also present were Martin Hilton (Allens) and Nick Metcalfe (Co. Sec.).

Minutes of the previous Zoom meeting were approved.

It was reported, pleasingly, that five further branch ambassadors had come forward following the recent Club Matters circulation.

Much of the meeting was taken up with how Committee members were seeing emergence from lockdown playing out in their own localities – whilst various trends were identified, uncertainty was still very much to the fore.

Updates were received on developments at Black Sheep and Black Eagle, and there were wide-ranging reports of current developments at a significant number of existing and potential investees.

Noting that the fund had dropped further in value since the end of June, the Committee decided to ‘drip feed’ £100K only of the available investment monies at this point in time into ten existing investees (including £20K of this into Shepherd Neame given their favourable behaviour towards tenants during lockdown).

The recent CAMRA ‘Discourse’ thread, much of which appeared critical of CMIC, was discussed with a sense of incredulity and déjà vu both. It was reported that the possibility of a members’ social gathering at The Victoria, Beeston later in 2020 was, sadly, now looking increasingly doubtful.

Future Committee meetings confirmed for Saturdays 15 August, 3 October (both now via Zoom rather than face-to-face) and 5 December [#] (# subject to Covid-19 developments).