ARGUABLY Australia’s most enduring brew, Resch’s Draught is one of the last of Sydney’s 19th century beers that continues to be available from the bars of pubs in the Harbour City.
Along with Toohey’s Draught, Resch’s remains a popular beer with Sydneysiders.
While all the beers once brewed by Tooth & Company at its Kent Brewery have long disappeared from Sydney’s pubs, there remains Edmund Resch’s famous amber nectar. Although not original brewed by Tooth & Company, the beer was acquired by the brewery giant in 1929 after Edmund Resch’s death.
The beer was one of many excellent brews that came from Resch’s Waverley Brewery, established by Edmund Resch. Born on 9 June 1847 in Germany, Edmund Resch arrived in Australia in 1863. After some success in mining, he went to Charters Towers, Queensland in the 1870s, where he built and operated the Cosmopolitan Hotel at Wellington Reef.
In 1877 he bought with his younger brother Richard a cordial factory at Wilcannia, NSW. The following year he visited Germany, where he married Carolina Rach.
On his return to Australia with his new wife, Resch’s Wilcannia business flourished and in September 1879 he and his brother opened the Lion Brewery there. The brothers purchased a brewery at Cootamundra in 1881, renaming it the Lion Brewery; by 1885 they had branches at Silverton, west of Broken Hill, and Tibooburra on the Mount Browne goldfield.
The brothers went their separate ways in 1885, and the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent, Richard carrying on at Cootamundra and Tibooburra, and Edmund at Wilcannia, where he built up a reputation as a skilful brewer.
Edmund Resch retired to Melbourne in 1892, installing a manager at the Wilcannia brewery. In 1895 he moved to Sydney to manage Allt’s Brewing & Wine and Spirit Co. Ltd for a banker who had assisted him in his early business career.
Edmund Resch purchased the brewery for about £67,000 in 1897 and in 1900 also acquired the business and plant of the NSW Lager Bier Brewing Co. Ltd.
Resch was assisted in his Waverley Brewery business by John Herbert Alvarez, his accountant and manager, and his sons Edmund and Arnold, who had both studied modern brewing methods in Europe and the United States of America.
Resch embarked on a large building program, centralising his combined interests in Dowling Street, Redfern. By the turn of the century he had over 50 pubs tied to his brewery.
Edmund Resch died on 22 May 1923 aged 76, survived by his wife and sons, and was buried in the Anglican section of Waverley cemetery.
In 1929 Resch’s Waverley Brewery was taken over by Tooth & Co. Ltd in exchange for shares issued to the Resch family.
Today, Resch’s Draught continues to to be poured from the taps of Sydney pubs, as well as further afield around the country and is brewed by Carlton & United Brewery.