Carlton & United Breweries has tapped into consumer nostalgia and brought back another heritage beer in the form of Reschs Dinner Ale.
The Dinner Ale was first brewed in Sydney in the early 1900s, according to the brewer, but it was discontinued in the 1990s.
A grassroots movement from Reschs Appreciation Society members which petitioned CUB to bring back the Dinner Ale has now seen the beer revived for a limited edition run.
It is the latest success for the Society, unaffiliated with CUB and which now has more than 12,000 members on its Facebook group alone. It previously campaigned for the return of Reschs Silver Bullet cans, which returned to CUB’s portfolio permanently in 2020.
While Society spokesperson Molly Whelan was a bit young to have remembered Reschs Dinner Ale first time round, she said the whole Society was excited to have it back.
“I have obviously never had it before, it’s long before my time, however the old blokes in Reschs Appreciation Society haven’t shut up about it!
“After seeing all the old mirrors, posters and paintings with the DA logo in pretty much every pub in Sydney I asked a few members, ‘was it actually that big back in the day?’ They would respond as if they were talking about their first born child, these people are seriously obsessed with this beer!”
The emotional response to the beer has been relayed with an outpouring on social media.
“That emotional sentiment of people feeling as though they are reconnecting with past and present relatives by drinking the beer they used to love is, I think, a really common response I’m seeing in our group,” Whelan said.
“People are really quite emotional about it… much more so than normal. For many of our members, bringing back this beer was their opportunity to reconnect with the past and that I think is why it’s been so emotional for them.”
CUB has been focusing on its strong portfolio of historic and heritage brands, tapping into drinker nostalgia, which can be a powerful force in consumer psychology. In the past decade it has seen Reschs resurge, but also the return of Tooth’s Pale Ale and Melbourne Bitter on draught back in 2015.
CUB marketing manager Marc Lord said that while Dinner Ale was discontinued more than two decades ago, consumers had never forgotten it.
“To have such a passionate group of people campaigning for a beer that hasn’t been brewed for decades really says something,” he said.
“We love supporting the Society and are so excited to be bringing back Reschs Dinner Ale so they can enjoy ‘a little class from the long glass’.
“Classic, local beers have become a popular choice during the pandemic as many drinkers sought out experiences that reminded them of simpler times.”
As CUB CEO Danny Celoni explained, any move that drives growth in the beer category is worth the investment.
“One of our major focuses continues to be driving initiatives such as this,” he said.
“They help get consumers into store because they capture the nostalgia of beer lovers and remind them of simpler times. We are committed to supporting our retail partners and helping expand the beer category.”
The Reschs Appreciation Society, founded in 2009, has been one of the driving forces in bringing back classic Australian beer brands.
“The Reschs Appreciation Society is a very passionate bunch and I think CUB see that,” Whelan said.
“Petitions and rallies are created over the smallest of things and at first when I heard the group were demanding the return of a beer that stopped production decades ago I thought it was rather endearing at first, but never thought anything would ever come from it. I never thought they could ever create enough noise to actually see its return so I’m truly impressed!”
Whelan said that the response from members so far had been immense.
“The reaction so far in the Facebook page has been crazy! It was first posted on the page a few days ago and there are already hundreds of likes and comments.
“It has been a mix of absolute hysterical stories of people leaving work early and driving half way across Sydney to get their hands on a case and then also some very sweet memories have been posted as this beer takes a number of members back to happy times sharing a DA with late relatives.”
While CUB has said that the release of Dinner Ale is a limited run, the Society is already thinking about how to lobby them to make it a more permanent addition.
“The members are already onto this! They have brought it back but now they definitely want to make sure it stays.
“There was a post the other night from one member, asking each of the other 15,000 members in the society to write to CUB thanking them and urging them to keep DA permanently.”
Reschs Dinner Ale is available at Liquorland and First Choice bottleshops across NSW, and CUB has hinted that there is more news to come from its back catalogue in the coming months.