Coopers 2020 Vintage Ale a homage to brewery’s history

A special barley variety named after the original site of Coopers Brewery brings a historic touch to the 20th year celebration of Vintage Ale.

The Coopers 2020 Vintage Ale features Leabrook barley, named after the former site of the sixth generation Australian family-owned brewery. Coopers was located at Leabrook in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs from 1881 until 2001 when it moved to its current and expanded site at Regency Park.

The Leabrook barley variety, grown on the eastern slopes of the Adelaide Hills, has been crafted by the brewer’s maltster Dr Doug Stewart into pale malt, to which crystal and wheat malt is added to create an authentic Vintage Ale with a special twist.

Coopers 2020 Vintage Ale is the 20th in the series of Vintage Ales that commenced in 1998. Like all Coopers ales, the 2020 Vintage Ale undergoes secondary fermentation and natural
conditioning. It retains an alcohol level of 7.5 per cent ABV.

Barley variety honours historic brewery

A new barley variety named after the site of the original Coopers brewery is being bulked up this season with a view to becoming the South Australian brewers’ malt of choice.

Bred by the University of Adelaide at its Waite Institute, WI4896 has been named Leabrook having passed stage 1 malt accreditation in March. It will become an accredited malting variety in March 2020 if it passes Stage 2 this year.

The variety is being bulked up this season through Seednet Partners growers at eight sites: three in South Australia, two in Queensland, two in New South Wales and one in Western Australia. About 5 tonnes of seed has gone out and seeding has begun in some areas. More than 400 hectares will be planted and about 1000 tonnes of seed likely to be kept for the commercial launch in 2020.

Seednet Partners General Manager Simon Crane said Leabrook would be grown alongside other barley varieties such as Compass, Spartacus and La Trobe for comparison purposes.

He said it was a tall and vigorous plant type with a 2-5 per cent yield advantage on other Seednet Partners malting varieties, which include Commander, Compass and Scope. Leabrook has also shown to have a slightly higher malt extract than other varieties, Crane said.

“Yield is the main reason but we’re hoping that on the malt side it’s got something to offer as well so end users are asking about it as well as growers who are keen to grow it,” he said.

“Planet is the hardest barley to beat these days in the long season regions so it won’t beat that for yield but more in the low-to-medium rainfall regions and in the tougher seasons this variety has proven to have a yield advantage.

“I wouldn’t say it’s been bred specifically for craft brewing but there’s definitely interest. It’s also in the national variety trial system so there is a lot of trial results but this year will be the first larger scale evaluation and demonstration of the variety.”

Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Coopers is Australia’s largest independently owned brewery, selling about 80 million litres a year.

Its famous ales were brewed at Leabrook in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs from 1881 until the brewery relocated to its current site at Regency Park in 2001.

Coopers malted Leabrook barley last year and made a test batch of beer as part of the accreditation process. It will likely malt two more batches at its new 54,000-tonne malting facility alongside its brewery in the coming months.

Leabrook barley is closely related to Compass, which was also bred by the University of Adelaide and is currently used by Coopers as its standard malt across its range.

Coopers’ maltings manager Dr Doug Stewart said if all went well with testing and Stage 2 accreditation, it was likely that Leabrook would eventually replace Compass as the barley of choice at the brewery in a staged transition as the variety adopted by more growers.

He said Leabrook performed “perfectly” in the first malt trial at Coopers last year.

“There were no problems at all so we’re very enthusiastic that it will be a good replacement for Compass,” Stewart said.

“The variety Compass is very much in line with the domestic brewing industry so I think the new variety will find its way into a number of different domestic beers including some craft beers.

“It will certainly keep that Compass type of barley around for longer, which is a style of barley and malt that we enjoy.”

The University of Adelaide’s barley breeding program at the Waite Institute ended in June 2017 meaning that WI4896 could be the last commercial barley variety officially named by the university.

The Waite is the largest agricultural research and teaching hub in the Southern Hemisphere and is also home to CSIRO, Plant & Food Research Australia and The Australian Wine Research Institute.

The University of Adelaide has traditionally used maritime terms such as clipper, schooner, keel and fathom when naming its barley, which Stewart said made the break from tradition to use the Leabrook name all the more special.

“Coopers has been involved with the breeding program at the University of Adelaide for many years and we have ongoing research projects with them as well so it’s a lovely touch that they’ve agreed to name it after our original brewery site,” he said.

Coopers Brewery’s malting plant named best in the world

Coopers Brewery’s new malting plant in Adelaide has been named equal best in the world at an international award presentation in Poland overnight.

A jury consisting of members of the global brewing supply chain last night named Coopers and The Swaen in the Netherlands as the Maltsters of the Year 2019 at the World Barley, Malt and Beer Conference held at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw.

The joint winners took the title ahead of other short-listed malting plants in Germany, Vietnam and India.

Coopers opened its 54,000-tonne capacity maltings in November 2017 alongside its Regency Park brewery in the South Australian capital.

Of the almost 50,000-tonnes of malt produced at the site this year, Coopers will use about 16,000 tonnes for its own beer and 21,000 tonnes will be exported to Asia.

Domestic craft brewers and distillers are predicted to use about 5500 tonnes – more than 10 per cent of annual production.

Asian customers include Thai Beverage, which uses Coopers’ pilsner-style malt to brew its Chang beer, Carlsberg in Vietnam and South Korea’s Hite Brewery.

Coopers is the largest Australian-owned brewery and made its first beer in 1862. It sold its previous malting plant to Ausbulk in 2002 to help reduce debt from building its Regency Park brewery.

The prestigious Global Brewing Supply Awards are conducted every two years to recognise the brewing world’s business innovation and technology leaders.

Coopers’ Maltings Manager, Dr Doug Stewart, who accepted the award on Coopers’ behalf, said it was a remarkable result, given that Coopers’ maltings has only been in operation for just over a year.

He said the malting plant was technologically advanced and produced malt of exceptional quality.

“The plant includes some unique in-house designed features which have allowed us to reduce steeping times, water usage and kiln-gas during the malting process,” Dr Stewart said.

“We also are flexible enough to be able to produce special single origin malts for the craft beer and distilling sectors. These have included malt from Westminster barley grown on Kangaroo Island, Schooner barley from the Murray Mallee and Commander barley from the Barossa Valley.

“This unique range of malts forms part of the attractiveness of our offering to the craft brewing sector.”

Leading Swiss manufacturer Buhler supplied the malting equipment for the $A65 million project with local company Ahrens responsible for the construction.

Dr Stewart said Coopers’ commitment to quality had extended to the aesthetics of the plant, distinguishing it from the normal “agricultural” look of most maltings around the world.

“Being named joint Maltster of the Year ahead of major international operators in only our second year of operation underlines our commitment to innovation and quality,” he said.

The Swaen was founded in 1906 and now exports malt across the world.

Coopers Brewery launches new dry beer

Coopers Brewery has launched Coopers Dry – a refreshing, fine filtered lager introduced to provide greater choice in Australia’s dry, low-carb category.

This easy-drinking beer  will be available across Australia in keg, bottle and can formats by the end of September.

Coopers sales and marketing director Cam Pearce, said Coopers Dry was an entirely new beer that had been developed to meet the growing public demand for this style of lager.

“Dry or low carb beers currently represent more than 15 per cent of the total Australian beer market, but there are relatively few brands from which consumers can choose,” he said.

“Coopers Dry will provide consumers with a refreshing alternative, offering low malt sweetness and modest bitterness that can be enjoyed with a wide range of foods all year round,” said Pearce.

In developing the beer, Coopers has used a highly fermentable Pilsner malt from its own maltings as the foundation.

It is fermented at a low temperature for an extended period, allowing a specially selected strain of yeast to effectively consume all the fermentable sugars, producing an exceptionally dry finish.

This process produces a mix of flavour compounds that enhance the use of the hop variety Magnum.

“Dry beers are now well established in the market,” said Pearce.

“Coopers Dry will offer consumers a premium quality alternative and we expect it will be well received in the market.”

With Coopers Dry entering the market, Coopers Clear will be withdrawn from sale.

Coopers Pale Ale getting cans

Coopers Brewery is releasing Coopers Original Pale Ale in a can from August.

Coopers sales and marketing director, Cam Pearce, said Coopers Original Pale Ale is market leader of the total pale ale market in Australia with 32.5 per cent share.

“With increasing consumer demand for a can format, now is the right time to release our flagship product in a can,” he said.

“Consumer demand ‎for beer in cans has accelerated over the past few years as we see cans appealing to a wider audience and also for those occasions where drinkers are looking for the versatility and convenience that a can format offers.”

Pearce said Coopers had been encouraged to offer the new can format for its Pale Ale on the back of the recent and highly successful launch of Session Ale in both bottles and cans, and the great uptake of the can offering in the product mix.

He said that as a result of Coopers Original Pale Ale being released in cans, the Dr Tim’s brand would be retired from the Coopers portfolio.

The new 375ml cans are the same price as 375ml bottles, although may vary at retail with promotional activity.

Coopers opens $65 million malting plant

The largest Australian owned brewer, Coopers, has opened a $65 million malting plant at its Regency Park brewery in Adelaide, a move that is designed to underpin the family-owned company’s long-term future. Read more

Coopers to release Carlsberg mid strength beer

Coopers Brewery will add Carlsberg Mid 3.5% lager to its international beer portfolio.

The new beer, which is being brewed at Coopers’ Regency Park headquarters for the Australian market, will be one of the first mid strength versions of the iconic brand in the world.

An all malt light, easy drinking lager, the brewer says it will complement Coopers’ mid strength ale, Coopers Mild 3.5%.

Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director, Cam Pearce, said mid strength beers were the strongest growing category in the Australian beer market.

“Sales of Mild Ale 3.5% grew by 13.7% during 2015 to become Coopers third largest product by volume,” he said.

“We believe the category will continue to grow and we were looking for a mid-strength lager to round out our offering.

“Following discussions with Carlsberg, agreement was reached to brew and distribute Carlsberg Mid 3.5%.”

Pearce said the new beer would be available nationally from March.

Coopers already brews Carlsberg at its Regency Park brewery. The beer is distributed nationally by Coopers distribution company, Premium Beverages.

Coopers continues strong growth

Coopers brewery has ended the 2015 calendar year in record territory, boosted by strong sales of Coopers Original Pale Ale and Mild Ale 3.5 per cent.

For the 12 months ending on the December 31, 2015, Coopers sold a record 80.7 million litres, a 4.4 per cent increase on the 77.3 million litres sold in calendar year 2014.

Coopers’ flagship product, Coopers Original Pale Ale, continued to perform strongly, with national sales rising 3.2 per cent during the year. It now accounts for 52 per cent of Coopers’ total beer sales.

Mild Ale 3.5 per cent enjoyed a 13.7 per cent increase in sales during 2015 and is now Coopers’ third largest product by volume behind Sparkling Ale, which recorded growth of 1.8 per cent for the year. Coopers Stout sales rose by 8 percent for the year.

According to Coopers Managing Director Tim Cooper, the 2015 results had been especially pleasing, given the continued overall fall in beer consumption in Australia.

“While Australia’s total beer consumption has fallen almost 10 per cent in the past six years, despite a growing population, Coopers’ sales have been on a solid growth trajectory for the past 22 years,” Cooper said.

“The latest results mean Coopers now has 5 per cent of the total Australian market. The eastern states continue to be Coopers’ major area of growth, with total sales in Victoria, NSW and Queensland growing by 7.4 per cent during 2015. Western Australian sales grew 5.5 per cent.”

An agreement with US craft brewer, Brooklyn Brewing came into effect late in 2015, but had only had a minor impact on results, although early sales had been strong.

Sales of Thatchers Gold cider, which is distributed in Australia by Coopers, rose 37 per cent during the 2015 calendar year.

For the six months to December 2015, Coopers sales grew 4.5 per cent over the previous corresponding period.

Dr Cooper said Coopers was looking forward to achieving 23 years of growth by the end of the current financial year.

This would also be supported by the release of Carlsberg 3.5 per cent mid-strength lager in February, adding further to the strong international beer portfolio already in place.

Coopers lager packaging will also be refreshed to stimulate interest on the back of the packaging upgrade of Coopers Clear in 2015 which has been well received by consumers. 

Coopers launches DIY brewing extracts

Coopers Brewery is launching a new series of DIY beer extracts in response to the growing interest in craft beer across the world.

The new premium quality brewing extracts are being released under the Thomas Cooper label and have been designed to help DIY brewers mimic most popular styles of craft beer.

At the same time, Coopers has revamped and refreshed the labelling for its Original and International DIY Beer extracts, adding multi-language information and nutritional panels.

Coopers Marketing Manager, Brewing Products, Scott Harris, said craft beer was the fastest growing sector of the beer market worldwide and DIY brewers were increasingly looking to make craft styles of beer at home.

“This particularly applies to enthusiasts who have progressed from making basic brews to more intricate beer styles,” he said.

“The Thomas Cooper range comprises high quality pure malted barley extracts, each with its own specifically matched yeast blend and are designed to be used with additional brewing adjuncts to replicate the bolder characters and flavours associated with craft beers.

“A good example of this is the Brew A IPA which has a significant level of both bittering and aromatic hops matched with west coast style yeast which when made as directed will give a higher alcohol by volume (ABV) level, extra hoppy IPA typical of the north west USA craft breweries.

“The range is designed to encourage experimentation by experienced DIY brewers who want to further develop the brews into their own unique craft beer styles.”

Harris said the new Thomas Cooper range included an Amber Ale, US American Pale Ale and US Indian Pale Ale (IPA), styles of beer, which together represent the majority of craft beers consumed.

The labelling for the three Coopers’ ranges had been changed to meet demands of overseas markets and to give them a familiar “Coopers” feel.

“Overseas markets now demand nutrition panels, while the old labelling was also due for a refresh,” he said.

Coopers gets all spicy

Coopers are spicing up there home cooking with a guide designed to help match its ales with certain spices in foods.

The guide is part of Coopers Ale ‘n Spice promotion, which is aimed primarily at the hotel and bar trade.

Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said “the guide has relevance to home chefs and anyone who likes paring food with beer.”

He added “based on the experience of our expert brewers, there are a few strong connections which people can try”.

Mr Pearce said “there were no right or wrong answers when it came to matching food and beer, but the suggested links provided a base from which people could start.”

Coopers Brewery maintains strong sales growth

Coopers Brewery maintains strong sales growth defying falling Australian beer consumption.

Coopers total beer sales for the year rose 4.7% to 78.8 million litres, the 22nd consecutive year of growth, while revenue for 2014-15 increased from $231.3 million in 2013-14 to $235.1 million.

Coopers Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper, said “This troubling fall in consumption represents a loss of nearly 10% of Australia’s beer volume in six years, despite a growing population.”

Dr Cooper said Coopers’ margins continued to be under pressure as retailers fought to maintain their profits in the face of declining volumes.

“This has seen demands for increased discounts and rebates from retailers,” he said.

“Coopers also faced a significant rise in the cost of malt, one of our key ingredients, with the price increasing by $60 a tonne during 2014-15.”

Dr Cooper said that despite the pressures, Coopers had managed to increase its market share to almost 5% of the total beer market.

“Our international beer portfolio continued to perform strongly, underpinned by excellent relationships with our international partners, Carlsberg and Sapporo,” he said.

Coopers scoops beer awards

Coopers Original Pale Ale has been named Australia’s best full strength beer for the eighth time at the annual ALIA awards.

Coopers Sales and Marketing Director, Mr Cam Pearce, said the continuing success of Coopers Original Pale Ale was exceptional.

“To win the title of best full strength beer for eight of the past nine years speaks volumes for the quality and care of Coopers’ brewers,” he said

Coopers Sparkling Ale was also named the best Premium Domestic Beer, while Coopers Mild Ale 3.5% was highly commended in the mid-strength beer section.

Coopers Clear unveils new look packaging

New packaging for Coopers Clear has been unveiled by Coopers Brewery ahead of summer.
According to National Sales and Marketing Director for Coopers, Cam Pearce, Coopers Clear had been introduced to provide an alternative low carbohydrate beer that would be suitable for summer afternoons. 

“Since its introduction, it has established a strong position in the market and is currently the fourth biggest selling beer behind Coopers Original Pale Ale, Sparkling Ale and Mild Ale 3.5 per cent”
Bottle labels, cans and cluster packs are set to begin entering the Australian market over the next few weeks before the busy Christmas and summer period.