Coopers Brewery is cautiously optimistic for the year ahead after recording total Coopers beer sales, excluding non-alcoholic beers, of 79.4 million litres for the 12 months to June 30, 2022.
This represented a 3.5% fall on the 2021 financial year volume of 82.3 million litres. However, Western Australia bucked the downward trend, with Coopers beer sales up 2% in the state.
Sales growth in Western Australia driven by the mid-strength craft beer market, in which Coopers Mild Ale was particularly successful. Greater on-premise presence for Coopers also pushed WA bulk beer sales higher.
Coopers Managing Director Dr Tim Cooper said: “Western Australia was the standout market for Coopers in terms of sales growth, and over the past three years our volumes in the west have risen 19%.”
The rising popularity of cans was another stand-out. This format now represents 33.5% of Coopers packaged beer sales, while keg sales declined further from pre-COVID-19 levels during the 2022 financial year, reflective of tough lingering conditions facing pubs and licensed venues.
Dr Cooper said the company’s results were in line with the domestic beer industry experience over the same period.
“Overall it’s a commendable result for Coopers given the supply and demand pressures facing the entire industry,” he said.
“Our enthusiasm and drive remain as resolute as ever. The brewery is in a strong financial position and we maintain a positive long-term outlook which gives us confidence to invest significantly in our operations. We are soon to break soil
on one of the most exciting capital expenditure projects in our company’s 160-year history.”
Coopers’ home at Regency Park in South Australia will be transformed over the coming year as a new visitor centre, microbrewery and whisky distillery begins to take shape adjacent to the existing brewery. This $50 million investment will position Coopers for the future with tourists among those front-of-mind in the design. A separate $15 million expansion of its on-site warehouse is already underway.
Dr Cooper said the hospitality sector continued to show the strains of restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic during the 2022 financial year, keeping domestic sales subdued while freight and logistics issues impacted international trade.
Across Australia, sales volume results in the 2022 financial year varied:
• Western Australia – up 2.0%
• New South Wales and ACT – down 4.9%
• Queensland – down 0.8%
• Victoria and Tasmania – down 7.4%
• South Australia – down 4.6%
• Northern Territory – steady
“While the overall market remains tight, we are seeing some positive signs emerging,” Dr Cooper said.
“Encouragingly, keg sales have recovered somewhat since June 30 and currently tracking ahead of last year’s results. Production levels at the brewery are also ramping up as we increase our contract manufacturing of more international brands.”
Under a partnership with Molson Coors Beverage Company, Coopers is now manufacturing the Miller Genuine Draft, Miller Chill and Coors brands. Australian manufacturing and distribution agreements have also been extended with Sapporo and Carlsberg during the past financial year.
Profit-before-tax for the 2022 financial year was $27.3 million, compared with $36.5 million the previous year. Coopers noted that the lower profitability was attributable to a decline in keg sales volume of 13.5%, a reduction in malt sales tonnage of 9.3%, and higher costs of freight and logistics, along with higher manufacturing costs, including barley, aluminium, and tin-plate.
Fully franked dividends of $14 per share were paid in the financial year, up from $13.50 per share paid in the prior financial year.
A share buyback has been announced, accessible to all of Coopers more than 180 shareholders at a price of $405 per share.
Coopers’ charitable foundation distributed a record annual amount of $760,000 to 25 charitable projects during the year.