February 6, 2017

Penrith RSL Club

Tank beer helps RSL club get a head

Words by: Isabell Petrinic, Penrith Press

Photos by: Carmela Roche

Original Source: (link)

CARLTON Draught’s unpasteurized beer is proving so popular at Penrith RSL Club that, on some nights, patrons have bled the newfangled copper tanks dry.

“It (Carlton Draught) was our sixth seller (as a keg beer) — it’s now at No. 3,” Dave Want, the club’s duty manager, told Penrith Press three weeks into the change.

The beer is piped at 3C into insulated tanks near the club’s main entry bar from a refrigerated truck that rolls up to the club every three weeks. Keg beer lasts about four months, Mr Want said.

Club chief executive Neel Chand said he made a calculated risk moving from the Lion beer brand — think XXXX and Tooheys — to Carlton & United Breweries.

“We’re the only club in western Sydney to have these tanks,” Mr Chand said of the three 500-litre tanks, which took a week to install piping beer to four bars in the club.

Penrith RSL Club chief executive Neel Chand in the new sports lounge. Picture: Carmela Roche
Billiards tables are also in the new sports lounge, which has a balcony overlooking Tindale Street.

He said customers are coming out of area to see the tanks and taste the beer which, according to Mr Want, has a “sharper flavour and much better aftertaste” than its keg equivalent.

But Mr Chand has never shied away from making changes, and these changes appear to have paid off.

When he arrived at the club six years ago, there were only 19,000 members. Now there are 38,000.

Under his stewardship the carpark was overhauled, adding over 400 extra spaces.

Tom Mueller and Jack Lynel escaping the heat at the club’s newest addition, Monkey Mania Penrith.
Neel Chand in Monkey Mania, which has a separate entry to the club via the club’s undercover car park.

The club then replaced the show room with a buffet, seating around 650 people.

“When the Star Buffet went in (in 2012), membership went up 70 per cent the first year,” he said. “It has been a massive success … (serving) at least 3500 (people) a week.”

Last September, the downstairs sports lounge was moved upstairs. Monkey Mania children’s play venue opened in its place earlier this month.

“The TAB turnover is up 30-40 per cent since it opened (upstairs) thanks to its visibility,” Mr Chand said. It is now to your left, at the top of the escalator as you enter the club.

“I always knew this club had a lot of potential,” the chief executive said.

“This year we intend to revamp the function rooms.”

Asked about his wish list, Mr Chand said it includes more restaurants for the club and an auditorium.

The new copper beer tanks are a talking point at the club. Picture: Carmela Roche

PURIST’S CHOICE

■ Unpasteurised beer is considered to be the purist’s beer, because it is not heated to 70 degrees during the brewing process

■ It is decanted straight from the tank to the venue

■ The perfect Carlton Draught should have a 10-15mm tight, thick, creamy head, says the brewer

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