Kingdom of Fife

Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

About Us

In days of yore, when knights roamed bold and free, the Kingdom of Fife scarcely flickered on the CAMRA radar. It languished in obscurity, its pubs few and its members scarce. The southern reaches, from the bridges to Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, fell under the purview of the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland branch, while the north and parts of the west were overseen by the Tayside branch.

Slowly, a handful of us began attending Edinburgh branch meetings, where the notion arose to survey local pubs and distribute Pints of View, the Edinburgh magazine, to establishments in South Fife. Edinburgh welcomed the initiative, given the vast expanse we aimed to cover. Among the key figures during this period were Matt Bald, who would later become the inaugural sub-branch chairman, Steve Darby, the first secretary and Jim and Ewan Brande, who both would hold various roles and remain active members to this day.

After some years, the momentum garnered enough interest among publicans and drinkers in the area to warrant the establishment of a South Fife Sub-Branch. Our first beer festival took place in the Rothes Halls in Glenrothes in 1999, marking a resounding success. Following further discussions with the Tayside branch, the Kingdom of Fife Branch emerged autonomously, merging the north and south territories.

In 2001, at a meeting in the Whey Pat Tavern in St. Andrews, full branch status was officially ratified, with George Howie, then SNIB director, presiding. Ken Davie assumed the role of the first branch chair, with Martin Butler as secretary. Since then, the branch has flourished, gaining strength with each passing year.

The brewery scene in Fife has burgeoned over time, with eight breweries now flourishing in the Kingdom, a stark contrast to the barren landscape we encountered at our inception. The year 2017 brought sorrow to the Kingdom of Fife CAMRA as we mourned the loss of one of our stalwarts, Kenny Broadbent. Kenny, a former Chairman and Festival Organiser, played a pivotal role in the growth of CAMRA Fife and the Festival. In his honour, the Branch has decided to rename the annual Champion Beer of Fife competition, now known as The Kenny Broadbent Memorial Award – Champion Beer of Fife. This esteemed competition takes place at the Kingdom of Fife Real Ale Festival, inviting breweries from across Fife to submit their finest brews for blind tasting by a panel of diverse judges, including CAMRA members from regional branches, pub licensees, CAMRA Regional Directors, and a Cask Marque Assessor. Unfortunately, the award is currently suspended due to the absence of the beer festival.

Presently, there are approximately forty-three pubs in the Kingdom offering real ale, and our branch boasts over 250 members. Fife pubs have made a notable presence in the SNIB Pub of the Year Competition, securing the prestigious title on five occasions. The Hillend Tavern claimed victory in 2023, preceeded by The Commercial Inn in Dunfermline in 2022. Previous winners include The Albert Tavern in Freuchie, which triumphed in both 2009 and 2010, and The Harbour Bar in Kirkcaldy, which clinched the title in 2000. These esteemed establishments have each advanced to the final stages of the National competition, showcasing Fife's vibrant pub scene on a broader stage.