Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be

This is a heartwarming tale of consumer power to save a dying brand from bygone times; a small group of dedicated enthusiasts are keeping the traditional New South Wales’ beer, Resch’s alive by maintaining a Facebook page informing people where it can be purchased.

Admirable stuff.

Ah, those halcyon days of yore when the working man would drink a simple yet honest schooner of Resch’s beer.

Not for these enthusiasts the cynical corporate machine pumping out gigalitres of tasteless piss. Oh no, they’re fighting for the little guy, the artisan brewery doing it tough amidst a market dominated by a duopoly that has taken nearly all of the market share. Bravo!

One of the beer’s younger fans, 22 year old Amelia McGuire, was introduced to Resch’s when she was in year 12 by some male friends. To her, the beer feels part of the local community (although it is owned by Carlton United Breweries).

Wait, what?

Oh, Resch’s is just another of the myriad brands of beers brewed by Carlton United (really, AB-InBev) who, along with Lion Nathan (really, Kirin Holdings), brew and sell 98 of every 100 pints of beers drunk in Australia.

See also, Little Creatures, Four Pines, and every other “craft” beer you’ve drunk in recent years.

Bill’s Opinion

Beer is the second oldest recipe in human history (bread is the first… which resulted in the discovery of beer). Maintaining a diverse range of choices of this ancient beverage is surely a good thing.

In the early 1970s, British beer diversity started to improve thanks to the work of CAMRA.

Similarly, massive improvements have occurred in the USA in the last twenty years with a thriving independent brewing sector producing interesting and award-winning beers after the pissy “Bud” decades.

Australia however, is stuck in the 1970s with their duopoly masquerading as a “craft beer” industry.

So much so, that some silly old farts have formed a society celebrating, in effect, a recipe that’s been bought by Coca Cola.

In the words of Ray Davies;

We are the Draught Beer Preservation Society

God save Mrs. Mopp and good old Mother Riley

Preserving the old ways from being abused

Protecting the new ways, for me and for you

What more can we do?

To which the answer is, “more, but not this”.

[oh, and I resisted the temptation to make fun of Ms. McGuire but feel free in the comments]

9 Replies to “Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be”

  1. In a previous life I worked in a lot of bars in the US, London and Aussie. Due to my US experience where bar tending is virtually a trade and the Aussie dole officer doing their job and trying their best to find me a job and get me off the dole, they signed me up for from memory what was the Aussie equivalent of Bar Tender & Cellarman qualification all paid for and provided compliments of Bob Hawke. This proved to be the springboard to my success and in a short period, I was returning on Bobs’ investment and holding down real jobs, drinking and eating for free and got to see the inside of dingy smoky bars and hotel cellars in WA, SA, QLD & NSW which included a wide spectrum of low to high end premsies, from early openers (6am), most of the good ones on the Rocks including one of Bills watering holes and The Palisade, the infamous Oceanique aka The Big O (end of the road now closed bikie bar in Cairns) the Cairns Colonial Club, the Coogee for big gigs like Kylie, set up a weekly cocktail night in a bar in the straight section of Oxford St (bear in mind this was thirty years ago, Aussies didn’t do cocktails then) and back OT one of the largest sellers of beer and therefore highest cellar activity being a hotel in central Sydney that is still there, so I won’t mention it by name.

    That boozer was also an early opener and late closer, it had several different bars mostly lower end, had a very busy food service, had the betting stuff, a cash cow bottle shop and was quite popular on business days with run of the mill alcoholic workers from all walks of life from bankers to Mauri labourers. Back then you had to put dye bombs in the drip trays under the beer taps and in any other wastage to prevent you from recycling used beer and slops, for which we had a workaround.

    When I was disposing of the wastage and mixing my potions, topping up kegs and managing the flow lines downstairs in the relative security and privacy of the large refrigerated cellar all the slops, regardless of origin was topped up into the Resch’s kegs. Back then I was quite philistine when it came to selection of booze, but I would never ever drink Resch’s even if it was in a stubby or a tinny and I still strongly advise anyone else not to either.

  2. I worked a three-month contract for South African Breweries in their Rosslyn plant and discovered that my favourite brew, Lion Lager, also known as No.17, had 50 ingredients. Since then recipe replacement of good ingredients with cheaper has happened many times over and all the SAB offerings now taste like chemical soup. This has happened to all mass-produced corn-based beers including Heineken. The hop flavourants have never been near a hop. Thus my delight when SAB started producing Bud which, although largely rice-based, is a reinheitsgebot beer containing only barley, rice, hops and water. On the internet I couldn’t find out if Resch’s is a reinheitsgebot brew which would be the only possible reason for its niche popularity. I’m not mad on craft beers because almost always they will be sickly IPAs which admittedly have great thirst-quenching properties because after drinking the first one it’s hard to force down another.

    1. 50 ingredients? Please tell me that’s an exaggeration.

      I’ve just left Austria and can confirm that water, malt, hops an yeast can produce a low priced tasty beer.

      I’m not sure that’s what Australians like though.

  3. This is quite funny – the Reschs fan club that is. The Victorian equivalent would be Melbourne Bitter, which is a relative of VB. This has attracted the usual fan base of hipsters looking for something unique and authentic, ironically brewed by a mega brewer. This has been successful enough that they can charge >$12 for a large MB at my local. Imagine trying to get that for VB.

    1. Quite. These beers are all produced in the same facility with broadly similar ingredients.
      Hipsters make me laugh almost as much as the anarchists marching against Brexit.

  4. A nostalgia club of people hankering for ……. Reschs Pilsener?
    You couldn’t make up stuff this weird.
    I’m not sure I believe it myself, you sure it wasn’t a joke post by some sniggering journalist?

    Nothing against Reschs, it was a different taste, that’s for sure. (This is not the same as saying it was a “good” taste, or “desirable” flavour.)

    But it was just another mass produced Australian domestic excuse for lager (“pilsener”.. hahaahha)

    There’s never been so many choices in Australia, and that’s just in basic domestic swill. Yet someone really wants the flavour of Reschs?
    Good on ’em. They’re doing no harm. It is going to be an uphill battle for them – I’d not be counting on the flavour remaining true – as I’d lay money the integrity of the yeast plant won’t be top priority for Carlton (or “Fosters” as they like to be known on B-pay)
    With dozen upon dozens of varieties of mainstream beer coming out of the one brewery, one day Carlton will decide the PITA factor of maintaining a discrete line of Reschs is too hard, and the club will eventually realise that they’re drinking one of CUB’s other stinkers that happens to be canned into tins marked “Reschs” – something CUB will hotly deny, and will even produce grainy photos of chemists in the lab working on the Reschs formula, complete with white coats, goggles, clipboards, and test tubes.

    1. “… the integrity of the yeast plant won’t be top priority for Carlton”.

      My favourite brew is Marston’s Pedigree. It doesn’t travel particularly well to my current home.

      However, the recipe can be found online and, if you speak nicely with the home brew store, they can source a yeast that may or may not have been grown from a sample surreptitiously purloined some years back by an enterprising gentleman on a public brewery tour.

      I’ve made a good facsimile of it in previous years. Ha!

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