By Stefanie Collins, editor bars&clubs
Coopers, and its distribution company Premium Beverages, has introduced a team of beer ambassadors to meet, share and talk with consumers and venues around Australia about beer.
According to Cam Pearce, Coopers' national sales and marketing director, there is a real thirst for greater knowledge about Coopers' beer and the brewing practices that make Coopers' ales and stout unique.
“Many consumers and retailers don’t really understand our unique ales or know much about the story behind brewery itself,” Pearce said. “The job of the ambassadors is to answer questions, inspire people to try our beers and explain the best way the beers can be presented for maximum enjoyment.”
According to Pearce, the ambassadors have been trained across all aspects of beer and are able to suggest which foods Coopers’ beers work best with, discuss the characteristics of the different beer styles and recommend beers for special occasions.
“It’s all about enhancing the experience for customers,” he says.
Pearce elaborated, saying that the role of the beer ambassadors is to share their passion and excitement about beer as well as to provide useful information to the trade.
So far, Coopers and Premium Beverages have appointed three ambassadors across three brands from the portfolio.
Adrian Clark is the Coopers’ beer ambassador, and is former member of Coopers’ sponsorship and events team, and will be sharing the insights he has gained about Coopers’ beers over his 23 years with the company.
“About 90 per cent of my work is explaining how our beers, such as Coopers Original Pale Ale, Sparkling Ale, Vintage Ale, Mild Ale and Stout, differ from almost every other beer on the market and why they are cloudy,” he says.
According to Clark, interstate markets are still discovering the Coopers brand and his work will centre on sharing Coopers’ unique story and products with consumers and the trade.
The second ambassador is Miro Bellini, a former beer sommelier with extensive industry experience who will working with the recently acquired Brooklyn Brewery brand, whose beers are distributed in Australia by Coopers and Premium Beverages. Bellini believes that as the number of imported beers and craft beers available in Australia has increased, so has the knowledge of the average beer drinker.
“Beer is following the path already taken by a number of other products, such as coffee, olive oil, breads and even milk,” he said. “In the past coffee was either black or white. Today consumers choose between dozens of coffee styles as well as bean blends and varieties.”
He explains further that bar staff are now regularly asked to explain the difference between American and Australian Pale Ales, talk to consumers about different beer styles, and even which foods they complement and how to best serve them.
“The more they know, understand and enjoy beer, the more likely it is they will sell it,” says Bellini.
The final ambassador is Shinichiro Shimo, who will be in charge of the Sapporo brand. Working closely with Australia’s Asian-style restaurants, Shimo migrated to Australia in 2013 after working in the beer industry in Japan. He sees one of his key tasks as explaining the correct way to pour Sapporo in order to maximise a customer’s enjoyment of the beer.
“The difference between an Australian beer, such as Coopers Original Pale Ale and Sapporo is that Pale Ale doesn’t need as big a head,” he says. “Lagers such as Sapporo need a bigger head on the glass to prevent oxidisation. Customers sometimes say they have paid for beer, not head, but the head is additional.”
Shimo says he also has to tackle questions around the differences between Sapporo brewed locally, by Coopers, and the imported version.
“We send production samples from Coopers to the Sapporo brewing team in Japan,” Shimo says.
“The Sapporo produced in Australia is very good and is rated as equivalent to the black label Sapporo produced in Japan. It’s a very well balanced beer.”