Michael Shearer, General Manager at Coopers Brewery, provides Drinks Trade with exclusive insights into its recently released Australian Lager, its new visitors centre opening up this year, and the growing importance of value for Australian beer drinkers.
“The value proposition of beer is top of mind among Australian drinkers at a time when household budgets are being squeezed. Cost of living pressures are being felt across the country and we are seeing this reflected in consumer purchasing decisions. Consumers are seeking out even greater value for their spend. For beer, that comes down to confidence in buying a great-tasting, reliable product at an approachable price point. And being an authentic, local Australian-made beer matters to our consumers. That’s exactly where Coopers, as Australia’s largest independent family-owned brewery, is positioned in the market.
Following the extreme challenges of the pandemic, we saw positive signs re-emerge in 2023 and we’re approaching 2024 with a positive outlook. It’s pleasing to see customers returning to pubs and licensed venues and people out and about socialising again.
This rebound in patronage contributed to a 26% rise in our keg sales for the 12 months to June 30, 2023. Overall, Coopers recorded total beer sales, excluding non-alcoholic beers, of
77.6 million litres for the 2023 financial year, in difficult trading conditions for the entire industry.
While our trusted favourites like Coopers Original Pale Ale and Sparkling Ale continue to lead the charge, we have been keen to expand our portfolio to meet consumer demand.
Coopers Australian Lager
Our team spends a great deal of time on research, development and trials before proceeding with any new product. We also actively engage with consumers to gain their feedback on which products and styles of beer they prefer. Coopers Australian Lager is our brewery’s new flagship lager offering, in the nation’s largest beer style category. It has performed strongly since it hit the market in August 2023, exceeding our own high expectations, and rapidly earning its place among the country’s most popular lagers.
This great tasting, easy drinking lager has really struck a chord with Australian drinkers and rightfully will be in our permanent beer portfolio. The eye-catching turquoise design is proving to be a stand-out in stores and on beer taps, with a strong uptake of tap points across the nation.
The release of Australian Lager has been backed by a strong national campaign as well as on-site activations. Meanwhile, our 440ml cans of Original Pale Ale and Sparkling Ale have become very popular as limited releases. Coopers will continue to produce a seasonal release, and we have something special lined up for early 2024, with an unexpected twist to look out for!
Action at the brewery: On stage and on screen
Excitement is building at the Regency Park brewery as construction of our brand home development progresses at full steam. The new world-class visitor centre, microbrewery and whisky distillery is taking shape and is scheduled for completion in mid-2024.
This is a significant investment and presents exciting opportunities into the future. Our research has shown that tourism and a brand experience is important to consumers, with 25% saying they are more likely to buy a beer brand where they have visited the brewery.
We are looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the brewery to enjoy an authentic and immersive experience, coupled with the opportunity to taste some experimental beers.
As one of the most influential Australian beer brands on social media, Coopers continues to build on its formidable digital presence. With a digital audience of over 100,000 loyal drinkers on Instagram and Facebook, we continue to deliver compelling brand stories for our fan base. Our marketing campaigns use both traditional and new media channels to retain brand awareness.
We have also stepped up on stage to receive a number of awards over the past year.
These have included wins for Coopers Original Pale Ale, named the 2022 Premium Domestic Beer of the Year at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards, as well as earning gold alongside Coopers Sparkling Ale and Mild Ale at the Australian International Beer Awards. Original Pale Ale was also named one of Australia’s top craft beers in the prestigious annual GABS awards.
In these current times, the work of the brewery’s philanthropic arm is more important than ever. The Coopers Brewery Foundation recently surpassed $7 million in donations to Australian charities since its inception, an achievement recognised in a recent industry awards category for corporate social responsibility.”