By Andy Young

Coopers Brewery has posted record sales and revenues for 2014-15, defying falling beer consumption, higher malt prices and increased pressure on margins.

Total beer sales for the South Australian brewer rose for the 22nd consecutive year to 78.8 million litres, up 4.7 per cent on last year. Revenue also increased, up to 235.1m, while after tax profit rose by 3.2 per cent to $28.9m.

Coopers' managing director, Dr Tim Cooper said that while total beer sales increased, draught beer volume fell.

“This decline in our draught beer volume is to a level we last saw in 2009,” he said.

“This mirrors the fall in Australian beer consumption since 2009, when the national volume was 18.7 million hectolitres (1.87 billion litres).

“This troubling fall in consumption represents a loss of nearly 10 per cent of Australia’s beer volume in six years, despite a growing population.”

Dr Cooper also highlighted the strong performance of the company's international beers.

“Our international beer portfolio continued to perform strongly, underpinned by excellent relationships with our international partners, Carlsberg and Sapporo,” he added.

“We also reached agreement late in the year with US craft brewer Brooklyn Brewing to brew and distribute Brooklyn Lager in Australia and New Zealand.”

Dr Cooper said Coopers' margins continued to be under pressure as retailers fought to maintain their profits in the face of declining volumes.

“This has seen demands for increased discounts and rebates from retailers,” he said.

“Higher rebates for kegged beer result in upward pressure on wholesale prices, which in turn results in further reductions in consumer demand.

“Coopers also faced a significant rise in the cost of malt, one of our key ingredients, with the price increasing by $60 a tonne during 2014-15.”

The Shout Team

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

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