Business Address: Coopers Brewery, PO Box 46, Regency Park SA 5942, Australia
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About Coopers Brewery
Coopers Brewery has a long rich history, which spans from its' origins in 1862 to the present day.
The Coopers Beer story began in a newly established colony. with a brilliant accident. After turning his hand to a number of trades, Thomas Cooper discovered his talent as a brewer by accident; when he created his first batch of beer as a tonic for his ailing wife Ann.
That day in 1862, was the start of an amazing journey…
South Australia was only 26 years old and, although there were a number of well-established breweries, most settlers preferred to drink imported beer from the mother country rather than colonial beer.
Thomas Cooper saw the opportunity to create a beer that was free from the ‘peculiar flavour’ of colonial ales – he would introduce an all-natural beer from the very best ingredients.
In 1864, Thomas wrote to his brother in Yorkshire,“There are some half dozen breweries besides ours in and about Adelaide, but they all use a good deal of sugar and so on for brewing, but we use only malt and hops, consequently, ours being pure, the doctors recommend it to all their patients”.
So although competition was high and times tough (Thomas had a rather large and growing family to provide for), he turned away from his stable job as a stonemason and became a brewer.
His fine ales and stout soon became highly sought-after and Thomas would deliver by horse and cart to a growing number of loyal customers, including another soon to be famous entrepreneurial settler, Dr Penfold of the Grange winery.
When Thomas Cooper died in 1897, his sons – John, Christopher, Samuel and Stanley –assumed control of the family business.
By the turn of the century, even its competitors regarded Coopers Brewery as a brewer of distinction, and following their hotel debut in 1905, an increasing number of hotels sold Coopers products over the following decades.
During the 1900s, there were many hurdles to overcome, including the incessant drive of the prohibitionists in the early part of the century, the Great Depression of the 30s and the turmoil of two world wars.
But, successive generations of the Cooper family continued to grow the business by brewing fine ales, stouts and lagers in the natural, traditional way. As word spread and demand grew, Coopers products became available nationally and first exported to India and New Guinea in 1939.
In the late 1960s, through concerns about the long-term survival of naturally conditioned ales, Coopers invested heavily in lager production. And under Managing Director Bill Cooper, interstate and overseas sales of ales and stout grew through the 1980s, to represent 50% of beer production by 1990.
By 1997, it was apparent that the brewing operations at the leafy, inner city suburb of Leabrook could no longer meet future demand. Dr Tim Cooper then set out on a three-year journey to build a new, state-of-the-art brewery at Regency Park.
With a new home at Regency Park, the Coopers Brewery had more brewhouse capacity (two and a half times that of Leabrook) plus a unique fusion of modern innovation and Coopers' brewing tradition, an investment worth more than $100m.
Despite many changes, successive Cooper generations have never lost sight of Thomas Cooper's vision of providing value and quality.
Coopers Brewery products are now marketed nationally and internationally in a concerted way, ensuring the Coopers brand is well known beyond its South Australian home.
Today, Coopers is Australia's sole remaining family-owned brewery of stature, so it's still an every day occurrence to meet a Cooper at the Brewery.
The fifth and sixth generations acting as custodians of Thomas Cooper’s legacy are:
Dr Tim Cooper, our Managing Director who still keeps a keen eye on the brewing
Glenn Cooper our Chairman and Marketing Director
Bill Cooper, after 40 years on the Board of Directors, retired in September 2009
Melanie Cooper is Director of Corporate Affairs
Matthew Cooper works at the brewery in Customer Service and Distribution
Rachel Cooper-Casserly is in Marketing
And two other family members are involved as Board Directors.
So rest assured, Coopers Brewery is in the hands of those who have the same values as Thomas Cooper and believe in the product that Thomas himself began brewing all those years ago.