The Society for The Preservation of Beers from the Wood

For information about beers from the wood


John Rooth


Harking back to the days when education was valued, the government kindly paid for 5 years in the higher education system, so I have a degree in Industrial Chemistry from Brunel University and an MSc in Technological Economics from Stirling University. I have subsequently wasted these qualifications, by working for 34 years in data processing for various Market Research companies. Whilst at Brunel, I was chairman of the first Real Ale society. Subsequent trips to Morrells and Wethereds breweries ended with us being banned from the use of both student Union transport and the local hire firm. At Stirling, I failed to organize a piss-up in a brewery, by taking a group of people to Lorimers on the wrong day. It is a sign of the times, that none of these 3 are still with us.

I joined CAMRA in 1977 and have been a member ever since. I came across the SPBW because of Sue & 'Arry Hart inviting me to join the Campden Hill branch, whereupon I have filled various committee posts. I have been NEC secretary since 2001, having originally attended a meeting socially and volunteered to fulfill the vacant role. I stood for election at the March AGM of that year "if no one else wanted to do it", and have retained the position on a similar basis since then. As well as keeping everyone informed about what is happening, I help to run a lot of social functions at both branch and national level. I am also treasurer of Camal -Campaign for Authentic Lager, the highlight of which is an annual beer holiday, usually to Europe, often to Germany.

I have many hobbies, such as supporting Derby County and Harrow Borough. I am currently a member of 2 cricket clubs, Derbyshire and Middlesex (in order of allegiance), and at times have been a member of 6 others. I think that I get more uptight about the performance of the England cricket team than any other sport. I also used to regularly follow the team now called the London Broncos again (formerly Fulham etc, playing on their umpteenth new permanent ground). I have been to a home ground for 90 out of 92 football league clubs (Fleetwood & Newport to do) plus many non-league and Scottish (same thing), and 82 first class cricket grounds; so I have been to most localities in Britain. This means that to date I have visited over 1400 of the 4.500 pubs in the current Good Beer guide.

I used to play cricket, football, tennis & squash until various drink-related incapacitations caught up with me. Indeed one multinational finance company, I used to play cricket for used to sponsor us with a crate of beer for every game, so the swing and seam movement always appeared excessive after the tea interval. My claim to fame is sharing the spin attack with someone who once scored a first class 100 for Sussex.

I love jazz (especially avant-garde), and used go and see most acts at Ronnie Scott's. Until it became an overpriced soul club/restaurant. I have attended the North Sea Jazz festival in Holland, for the last 20+ years. I run the Derby County London supporters quiz team and have played (poorly) in a Wednesday darts team for 20 years. After 6 successive victories I recently tearfully relinquished the Campden Hill darts title, but am on a roll again having won the last two. If I have any time left at all I enjoy theatre, especially classical & fringe and art especially surrealism.

My aim for the SPBW is to promote good beer, good pubs & conviviality (conversation, not loud pop music would be a motto) and it is good to see wood mounting a revival and that traditional methods are still valued in our instant gratification society.