More than any other Australian brewery, Coopers has grown significant market share over the past two decades on the back of increased demand for alternative beer styles. It was established in 1862 by Yorkshireman Thomas Cooper who, so the story goes, brewed a batch of ale as a tonic for his ailing wife, using a family recipe; apparently it did the trick and, soon afterwards, his brews found favour with a few friends and neighbours, so he went into business. The Adelaide brewery is still controlled by sixth-generation members of the Coopers family but things haven’t always been plain sailing. ‘The brewery’s in the doldrums,’ Bill Cooper told his son Tim when the young man was considering career options in the 1970s. Young Tim went on to study medicine, but by the late 1980s Dr Tim Cooper was urged to join the family business, which by then was positively booming. Up until the 1980s, Coopers was seen as a somewhat quirky producer of bottled cloudy ales and stouts and they might well have disappeared completely, as yet another casualty of the modern brewing industry. Under managing director Bill Cooper’s watch they steadily built up interstate sales and expanded into kegged beers in 1987, but their masterstroke was to diversify into producing a concentrate for the home-brew market. After being based in the leafy suburb of Leabrook for 120 years, Coopers relocated to a modern brewing plant at Regency Park in 2001, which allowed them to seriously ramp up volumes. Home-brew production still accounts for much of the brewhouse output but the growth of Coopers’ keg and bottled market has seen them became the nation’s thirdlargest beer-maker.
Coopers specialises in cloudy bottle- and keg-conditioned ales and stouts, which have lost some character in recent years; mainstream lagers play second fiddle.
Coopers Sparkling Ale
Behind the Label
The iconic Coopers Sparkling Ale label has changed little since the early 1900s when it first appeared with the wooden barrel at its centre. The oval shape and solid typefaces have also been retained along with the words ‘established 1862’. Other wording has changed, including the claim ‘Warranted free from glucose and drugs’ which was emblazoned on early versions, reflecting the wide use of adulterants in beer at that time. The brewery address has changed, obviously, and ‘T. Cooper & Sons’ has become ‘Coopers Brewery’.
461 South Road, Regency Park 5010 Tours availablecomments powered by Disqus