By James Atkinson
As tipped by TheShout, Coopers Brewery has set aside its longstanding reservations about the cider category, signing a contract with England’s Thatchers Cider to distribute Thatchers Gold to the on-premise market in Australia.
Coopers managing director Dr Tim Cooper told TheShout that the company’s reluctance to enter the cider category was well founded, given that cider had been and gone from the Australian market on previous occasions.
“Cider has been through phases in Australia of being very popular and then less popular – certainly my father was looking at cider in the 1970s,” he said.
“But it seems to me now that with about 50 million litres in the market it looks like it’s reasonably well established.”
“We could never really convince ourselves that we wanted to have our own cider under the Coopers name. I think that to have a well recognised brand is the next best option,” said Cooper.
Cooper said Mark Goulmy, the general manager of Coopers’ distribution company Premium Beverages, was contacted by Thatchers last year about a possible distribution agreement.
“Chairman Glenn Cooper and I subsequently met Martin Thatcher and his team in the UK and felt an immediate affinity with them,” he said.
“Thatchers is a fourth generation family business that produces premium quality products. It has been growing rapidly in the past 20 years and the fit seemed right. We are extremely excited about the possibilities.” [continues below]
L-R: Martin Thatcher and Dr Tim Cooper
Cooper said Thatchers has 10 or more SKUS, but in Australia the focus will be purely on Thatchers Gold, which is the English company’s Coopers Pale Ale equivalent, representing 70 per cent of its production.
Under the arrangement, tankers of bulk cider are being shipped to Coopers’ brewery at Regency Park from Thatchers’ facility at Myrtle Farm in Sandford, North Somerset.
The cider is being kegged by Coopers into Coopers’ standard kegs, to integrate seamlessly into the existing systems of hotels, clubs and bars around Australia. Premium Beverages will also distribute Thatchers packaged cider.
Watch the video below to see Martin Thatcher, Dr Tim Cooper and Glenn Cooper discussing the agreement.