Resch's fans launch a pub passport to boost NSW tourism

Resch's Appreciation Society co-founder Matt Henricks at the Forest Lodge Hotel, with one of the new fan-made Resch's ...
Resch's Appreciation Society co-founder Matt Henricks at the Forest Lodge Hotel, with one of the new fan-made Resch's passports. Photo: Jessica Hromas

With most real passports gathering dust this year, beer lovers at the Resch's Appreciation Society (RAS) have created one of their own.

Although unlikely to be accepted by border security, the RAS passport is welcome at 75 Australian venues pouring the Carlton & United Breweries-owned beer.  

"With bushfires and COVID, it's been a bloody tough year for the hospitality industry," says Matt Henricks, founder of the grassroots RAS Facebook group.

A Resch's Appreciation Society passport waitng to be filled with pub stamps from across the state.
A Resch's Appreciation Society passport waitng to be filled with pub stamps from across the state. Photo: Jessica Hromas

"The passport is our way of supporting the pubs and clubs which have supported the Society over the past decade. The aim is to get people visiting venues they wouldn't have without it."

More than 300 passports have been sold since Tuesday when the RAS posted the $20 booklet for sale on its website.

Each venue listed has a unique stamp for passport holders to collect, plus a special offer such as discounted schooners of Resch's. At Bondi Golf & Diggers Club, a passport flash is rewarded with $5 off the price of a round, while Buckley's Crossing Hotel on the Snowy River will discount accommodation by 10 per cent.

Resch's "Silver Bullet" cans, rereleased by Carlton in August.
Resch's "Silver Bullet" cans, rereleased by Carlton in August. Photo: Supplied

Passport holders have until December 31 next year to obtain a stamp from all 75 pubs listed.

Successful punters will receive a coveted "Order of Resch" medallion, presented by the great-granddaughter of Edmund Resch, who founded Sydney brewing company Resch's Limited in 1906.

"With the cost of creating the medals, passports and customised stamps, we're not making a profit out of this," says Henricks. "But, if we can make a difference by doing what we love, drinking beer and having a yarn, then we'll gladly report for duty."

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Resch's Pilsner and Draught are brewed by Carlton today, although the brand has dropped in popularity from when it was NSW's biggest-selling bottled beer in 1961. 

The RAS is not affiliated with Carlton, but hopes to "revive Resch's to its former glory", and see the beer stocked at more bars and bottle shops around the country. Founded in 2009, the Facebook group now boasts 9000 members.

"A dozen or so lunatics in the group are committed to getting all 75 stamps, but most people are just keen to support NSW pubs and clubs where they can," says Henricks. "A few members are posting suggested day-trips that knock over multiple venues in a weekend." 

RAS members (L-R) Jim Barker, Jamie Lee-Garner, Mark Sullivan and John Watkins enjoy a Resch's at the Shakespeare Hotel ...
RAS members (L-R) Jim Barker, Jamie Lee-Garner, Mark Sullivan and John Watkins enjoy a Resch's at the Shakespeare Hotel in Surry Hills. Photo: Brook Mitchell

To be listed in the passport, pubs and clubs only had to offer a beer discount or something special for RAS members. "And obviously, they need to serve Resch's," says Henricks.

The broad church of venues includes the Forest Lodge Hotel, Inverell Tatts, Evans Head RSL and Tathra Beach Country Club near Merimbula.

"Our region was hit hard by the bushfires and COVID this year, so it's fantastic to see such an innovative idea to encourage people to support the regions," says Tathra Beach Country Club vice president Trevor Mace. 

"If we can make a difference by doing what we love, drinking beer and having a yarn, then we'll gladly report for duty," ...
"If we can make a difference by doing what we love, drinking beer and having a yarn, then we'll gladly report for duty," says Matt Henricks. Photo: Jessica Hromas

"We want visiting society members to see the club as their VIP lounge on the Sapphire Coast."

Henricks expects passport holders will buy more than one or two beers at a venue when collecting stamps across the state. 

"I think we'll see people bringing their friends and family to the regional towns, staying a night or two, and injecting money into the local economies."