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Rick Besserdin » Breweries, Brewing News » Coopers Celebrates 150 Years of Brewing

Coopers Celebrates 150 Years of Brewing

Thomas Cooper first brewed at his Norwood, SA, home on 13 May 1862.

Australia’s iconic Coopers Brewery is celebrating 150 years of brewing quality ales this year. It was in May 1862 that Thomas Cooper brewed his first commercial brew. One and a half centuries later, the world has changed considerably and so has the beer market in Australia. However, Coopers is still a family owned company, noted for brewing fine ales.

It was just over ten years ago that Coopers moved brewing operations to Regency Park in South Australia. Despite regular improvements, the old site at Leabrook, used by Coopers for 120 years, was simply no longer suitable. They now produce 63 million litres of beer a year and recent upgrades to the brewery will allow them to increase production by about 50%. Coopers currently have a 4% share of the Australian market place. However, they intend to increase this because of the recent upgrade and the market instability brought about by the sale of Fosters to SAB Miller.

To celebrate the 150 Year Anniversary, Coopers will be brewing a special Anniversary Ale. While we don’t have any details, if the Vintage Ales are anything to go by, this will be something to look forward to. A number of celebratory events will also be announced as we get closer to the May anniversary date.

The full press release is shown below.

Coopers Brewery celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and is already setting its sights on the future.
Now the largest remaining Australian owned brewer, Coopers has been in family hands since its founder Thomas Cooper, a former stonemason and shoemaker, produced his first commercial brew in May 1862.
Coopers’ Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper, said Coopers currently produced about 63 million litres of beer a year to hold 4% of the Australian beer market, but was expecting to continue to increase its market share in coming years.
“We have been on a steady growth path for the past 15 years, during which time we have averaged 10% compound annual growth in beer volumes,” he said.
“In 2001 we commissioned a modern, efficient brewery at Regency Park which we planned for ongoing growth, and we have subsequently expanded our presence throughout Australia, particularly in the Eastern States.
“We are confident of further significant growth as our beers become more available in club, pubs and retail outlets across Australia and overseas.” The survival of the company also owes much to the development of Home Brew kits of which Coopers is now the largest manufacturer in the world.
Coopers’ Regency Park brewery currently has the capacity to brew up to 90 million litres a year.
Coopers Chairman and Marketing Director, Glenn Cooper, said that Coopers had planned a series of events across the nation to celebrate the 150th anniversary, including the release of a special new celebratory beer.
Details of the new beer are still under wraps, but in keeping with the Coopers’ tradition, it will be a bottle conditioned ale. Coopers most popular products continue to be its traditional top fermented ales.
Details of celebratory events will be unveiled from May onwards, the anniversary of when Thomas Cooper made his first commercial brew in 1862.
Today Coopers has 143 shareholders, mostly descendents of Thomas, and some 130 employees within the brewery, which operates over three shifts. There are an additional 65 employees working outside of SA in subsidiary companies.

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Rick Besserdin is a home brewer and journalist, who specialises in writing about the diverse areas of beer, brewing, and technical automotive.

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