Good Beer Guide (GBG) and Pub of The Year (POTY) selection Guidelines

Annually all CAMRA branches have to select the best real ale pubs in their branch area for entry into the GBG. Also at about the same time each branch also needs to select their favourite branch POTY for entry into the National CAMRA PoTY competition. Whilst not related these two pub selection processes require considerable integrity and so are defined by documented processes to ensure the selection criteria is well defined and as many local members as possible can take part in the selection process. Below is the current Ipswich and East Suffolk selection criteria and processes.

GBG selection

The Ipswich and East Suffolk Branch (branch) are concerned that only the very best local Real Ale pubs are put in the Good Beer Guide.To this end we have tried to create a robust branch process for this is to happen that gives all branch members the opportunity to nominate and vote for their favourite pubs. This process is only applicable to current branch members and is in three phases:

Remember when considering pubs for nomination or selection, it is not a matter of how many real ales are sold or any other pub attributes such as good food, excellent accommodation or music, but only if the Real Ale being sold is consistently of a high quality that really counts.

Phase 1: All branch members can nominate any local pub using an on-line website, until a final date usually set at the October branch meeting. The on-line nomination form is located at Any queries can be sent to the branch GBG coordinator, who is currently Allan Crampton. Branch members usually collectively nominate about 100 branch pubs. Should the number of pubs nominated exceed 100 then the list may be trimmed by taking into account the number of nominations and Beer Scores on the WhatPub system. Existing GBG entries are longer automatically reconsidered, but rather all pubs will need to be nominated each year. Pubs with substantial changes e.g. new landlord, recent reopening will be discussed at the November meeting to confirm their eligibility. All votes placed in the Beer Scoring system will be reviewed to ensure that any local pubs with a substantial presence in this national CAMRA system and with a good beer score (typically 3.5 or higher) are taken into account.

Phase 2: in early December all branch members will be notified that the branch on-line voting system is open. Personal votes must be submitted before the deadline date on the website. Up to 27 pubs can be selected by each branch member at this stage (this is the provisional branch allocation for the GBG). All votes will be collated by the GBG coordinator to provide a provisional list of entries for the next GBG. Votes will only be accepted from CAMRA members of the Ipswich and East Suffolk branch. Note: it is very important that branch members should only vote for pubs that they have personally visited within the past year. Selection of a pub should be based purely upon beer quality - not upon any other criteria such as food, ambience, music etc. Any supporting comments can be made elsewhere e.g. overleaf or on another page. Each personal vote must be named and supplied with a current membership number to be validated.

Phase 3: final selection will usually be made in late February or early March when all personal votes will be counted and survey visits will be made to the pubs to confirm that each proposed entry is still eligible. In particular that they have not substantially changed in general format or recently have a new landlord. Geographic quotas will be applied to all large urban areas including Ipswich, Woodbridge and Stowmarket/Combs Ford. Any current CAMRA members can attend this meeting but no personal votes will be valid if they are submitted after this meeting has been held.

Any nominated pub can be deselected during a survey it fails to meet certain criteria:

The pub must does not regularly sell Real Ale which is kept and served to a consistent high quality.

The pub sells beer or cider using a misleading dispense, for example, a fake hand pump.

Please note: Ipswich and ES CAMRA branch reserves the right to disallow any votes if an excessive number have been sent from the same computer e.g. proxy voting without the agreement of the local branch or other abusive voting practices outside the spirit of the pub nomination, GBG selection and POTY voting processes.

NOTE: If you wish to comment upon this selection process please contact the branch either by email or by attending a branch meeting.

  • return to index
  • POTY selection

    The nationally coordinated PoTY competition begins each year by local branches nominating their favourite pub. These pubs are then submitted to further rounds at county, regional, super regional and national levels on a knock-out basis. Whilst each branch is free to select whichever pub it wants, at each subsequent stage the pubs must be judged by using a standard survey form which considers various criteria. These criteria are:


    Is the beer, cider and/or perry sold in good/excellent quality?


    The pub should provide a comfortable, pleasant and safe environment throughout, with a friendly atmosphere.

    The pub and glasses should be clean. Toilets should be hygienic and clean with hot water available, plus suitable hand drying facilities etc.

    Is the decor and furnishing appropriate to the style of pub? Is the decor in good order.


    Service should be welcoming, friendly, polite and also prompt. If the pub is busy, a friendly acknowledgement of your presence is desirable.

    You should be treated like a valued customer and made to feel at ease.

    Staff should be knowledgeable about and enthusiastically promote their real ales (and cider and perry if available?).

    Staff should know how to pick up and correctly hold a customer’s glass.

    Do you feel welcome to have a drink without having a meal?

    Where possible products from local producers should be included.

    Within its limitations, does the pub offer other products/services which may enhance a visit to the pub, good quality soft drinks, food, dog-friendly, music, wifi etc.?

    Taking into account the of the style of pub and its location did you feel that you received reasonable value for money. (Any CAMRA discounts should not influence this consideration)


    Where appropriate, does the pub have a community focus, eg. supporting local community groups, sports teams, etc? Look out for notice boards, listings of local events, sports teams linked with the pub.

    Does the pub have information on the local area which may be of use to either locals or visitors?

    The pub must be inclusive and welcoming to all age groups and sectors of the community.

    Considering the time and day of the week; is the pub busy enough to create a good atmosphere.


    Prices and opening hours should be clearly displayed.

    You should get a full measure or a top up without asking. Does the pub use oversized glasses?

    Is real ale (cider and perry where applicable) promoted in a positive way?

    Does the pub try to stimulate any interest in issues CAMRA members might be concerned about?

    Beer, cider or perry should not be sold using misleading dispense methods.

    It should be clear who has brewed any “house branded” beers.

    There should not be any inappropriate noisy electronic amusement machines in at least one bar.

    Beers should not be served through tight sparklers unless brewed to be dispensed in that way.

    Where possible there should be a range of beer styles and strengths. Where applicable, the range of ciders and perries should be taken into consideration. It should be noted that it is better for a pub to sell a small range to maintain quality if that is what suits their trade.


    This category covers the undefined elements that are not considered elsewhere.

    Did you enjoy your visit to the pub?

    Did you spend more time than you had anticipated at the pub or wish you had been able to stay longer and would look forward to a return visit?

    The Ipswich and East Suffolk branch (branch) are concerned that they also apply these same criteria to the branch stage. To this end the branch now invite all branch members to nominate their personal PoTY recommendations when also voting for their GBG pubs on their personal voting form (see GBG Phase 2 above).

    All branch members are free to nominate any pub for three geographical categories:

    Ipswich pubs (pubs in IP1-4 postal areas)

    Urban (pubs in non-Ipswich settlements with 5 ot more pubs, eg Aldeburgh, Felixstowe (including Walton), Framlingham, Hadleigh, Leiston, Needham Market, Stowmarket (including Combs Ford), Woodbridge).

    Rural pubs (pubs in any settlement other than those listed above).

    In addition, members may nominate a (real) cider Pub of the Year.

    These nominations are then counted so that a short-list of the 3 most popular pubs can be compiled and a group of branch surveyors can then be sent out to judge the short listed pubs using the standard survey form.

    Any local branch member can volunteer to assist with this survey stage but should make contact with the branch at (or before) the POTY pub selection meeting - usually the same meeting as the GBG selection meeting (see GBG Phase 3 above).

    The branch PoTY must be announced by mid-March - other round dates will be set by Regional and national coordinators.

    Any local branch members can also volunteer to assist with pub judging at both the county and regional levels. Please contact the branch if you wish to get involved with these tasks.

    NOTE: If you wish to comment upon this selection process please contact the branch either by email or by attending a branch meeting.

  • return to index