Brisbane brewery strike: Northerners forced to drink Resch’s and Richmond beer!

union club hotel brisbane 1930

During a Brisbane brewery strike, this Bisbane pub, The Union Club Hotel,  ordered in consignments of Richmond beer from Melbourne.

beer consignment reschs

A ship with “12 packs” of Reschs beer from Sydney arrives at a Brisbane port during the 1937 strike.

QUEENSLANDERS are a loyal lot when it comes to their local beers.

They love their XXXX, and it took a lot for the northerners to be tempted to tipple southern brews.

But desperate times, call for desperate measures.

A strike by workers at Castlemaine Perkins Brewery in 1937 resulted in Brisbane pubs running dry, and as a result publicans went to extraordinary lengths to quench the thirsts of their customers.

The brewery workers were striking for improved conditions and a 40 hour week.

Brisbane publicans were even advertising Melbourne beer across the facades of their pubs – and their parched customers, reluctantly turned their palate to southern brews like Resch’s (Sydney) and Richmond (Melbourne).

Publicans scoured the country districts, not only in Queensland but in NSW, driving their cars lengthy distances, looking for elusive stocks of beer for their hotels.

They soon emptied the pubs of the the Northern Rivers of NSW, and proceeded to visit little known places, and wayside bush inns in an effort to find stock, as the strike lingered.

Securing a few dozen bottles here, and half a dozen there, the publicans filled their cars with booze, before making the long drive back across the border.

Shipping from the south also became busier at Brisbane ports.

Heavy cargoes were unloaded in Brisbane and prominent among the goods was large consignments of southern beer – including from breweries in Sydney and Melbourne.

The southern breweries adopted a system of sharing the consignments among the various ships. They were wrapped in paper, resembling cement bags, each parcel containing a dozen bottles.

The ’12 packs’ were not going to breweries or warehouses though – as was the normal practice – but straight to the publicans and their hotels.

While Brisbane pubs had always had a regular trade with the southern breweries, during the Castlemaine strike the shipments increased dramatically.

castlemain perkins brewery strikers 1937

Strikers picketing the front gate of the Castlemain Perkins Brewery in Brisbane in 1937.


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Categories: Breweries, Brisbane hotels, Queensland hotels

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