By James Atkinson

Coopers has rejected once and for all industry reports it has discussed a future alliance with Coca-Cola Amatil, while the brewer has also reflected on Lion's takeover of Little Creatures as well as winemaker Casella's recent foray into beer.

In a candid interview at Coopers' 150th birthday celebrations at Sydney's Lord Nelson Hotel, chairman Glenn Cooper (pictured right hand side with managing director Dr Tim Cooper) told TheShout Coopers is more committed than ever to maintaining its independence as a family-owned company.

"They [CCA] would like to enter into discussions with us, no question, because if you look at what is left over when they come back into beer, I think they are going to have a very tough run finding brands," he said.

Managing director Dr Tim Cooper said the company had made its position quite clear.

"We've been saying no, we're absolutely not having any discussions with Coca-Cola Amatil," he said.

Surprise at Little Creatures price tag

Commenting on Lion's bid to take full control of Little Creatures, both Tim and Glenn Cooper said they were surprised at the size of the offer, which values the company at $381.6 million.

"They would have got the first 36 per cent for not very much money, so they're probably paying $200 million for the rest that they don't have, and then they say the whole thing's therefore worth $380 million," Dr Cooper said.

"But it's still $200 million for 0.6 per cent of the market – that's a lot of money."

Big job for Casella: Coopers 

Meanwhile, Glenn Cooper said the ambitious newcomer to the beer category, Casella Wines, will have its work cut out.

"There's a big difference between having a capacity of that size and actually selling at that size," he said.

"If they want to take on SABMiller and Lion… there's a trail of deaths behind, I can tell you."

Tim Cooper expressed concern that if Casella struggles to get traction with its own Arvo brand of beers, that the winemaker may end up using its huge brewing capacity to supply private label to the supermarkets.

"One can only wonder if they find it difficult to get their brands established whether they will then end up just supplying Coles and Woolworths, which of course we would think is regrettable," he said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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