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Coopers (Adelaide, South Australia)


The Coopers 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

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

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