Coopers Brewery goes big to celebrate its 160th anniversary

Coopers Brewery is celebrating the 160th anniversary this month of its forefather Thomas Cooper creating his first brew.

In May 1862, 10 years after arriving in South Australia from Plymouth with his young family, stonemason Thomas Cooper named his new creation ‘A’ and listed its ingredients as four bushels of English malt and eight pounds of Kent hops in 46 gallons of water. Originally intended to be a tonic for his ailing wife Ann, once the neighbours got a taste of the ale and word got around, the requests came flooding in.

One hundred and sixty laps of the sun later, Coopers Brewery is Australia’s largest independent family-owned brewery, with beer sales in excess of 80 million litres per year.

The brewer is marking the milestone with a birthday message on the largest billboard in the southern hemisphere.

Measuring 170 metres in length, the billboard advertisement is prominently located on the Glebe Island silos in Sydney Harbour and reads: “Coopers – A long history needs a long billboard – 1862-now”.

Managing Director Dr Tim Cooper – a fifth-generation descendant of Thomas Cooper – got a close up look at the sign last week, which will be displayed over the next four weeks with other 160-themed promotions planned in locations across Australia over the coming months.

“We now have sixth-generation members in the company and our intent is for the brewery to remain firmly in the hands of the family,” Dr Cooper said.

“Coopers Brewery has survived world wars, recessions and takeover offers. We’ve come through all the ups and downs by embracing our origins and our craft.

“We’re immensely proud to have remained an Australian owned and operated brewery.

“Brewing for 160 years is a significant milestone. Our survival has also been underpinned by our ability to diversify along the way, with production of malt and malt extracts. The key to growth is continuing to evolve our markets and our products.”

Last month Coopers announced plans to invest $50 million in the construction of a new world-class visitor centre, microbrewery and whisky distillery at its Regency Park site.

The brewery also released a unique Australian-style Red Ale in March to celebrate its anniversary.

PHOTO SPECIAL: Coopers 160th celebrations in Adelaide

Coopers celebrated its 160th anniversary with 160 guests – including Drinks Digest – at a stunning celebration on Friday, May 20.

The event was held at Adelaide’s Freemasons Hall, an impressive stone built in 1869, just a few years after Thomas Cooper’s first foray into brewing.

It was an amazing evening, filled with fabulous food, beer, laughter and entertainment.

Guests enjoyed a delicious Coopers-inspired menu, including a designed “pie floater” with slow-cooked lamb shoulder pie marinated in Coopers Original Pale Ale and pea cream; with beer-poached pears, chocolate stout sauce and brown sugar meringue for dessert.

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