By Andrew Starke

Coopers Brewery is to place greater emphasis on the US market after signing a distribution agreement with craft brewer Anchor Brewing Company.

The arrangement may also lead to Coopers importing and distributing Anchor Steam beer in Australia within the next two or three years.

Coopers chairman and marketing director, Glenn Cooper, said the agreement had been reached during recent discussions in San Francisco with Anchor Brewing’s owners Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio.

“Keith and Tony were previously executives of Skyy Vodka and last year purchased Coopers former US distributor, Priess Imports,” he said.

“Last year they also purchased Anchor Brewing from former owner Fritz Maytag and are now keen to increase distribution of both Anchor and Coopers’ products throughout the US.

Coopers former export manager, Terry Miniken, who had been working in the US with Priess, has been taken on by Anchor to look after the Cooper’s brand.

Cooper said Anchor was recognised as one of the founders of the craft brewing segment in the US and had developed an outstanding reputation, despite being a relatively small producer.

“Coopers also fits comfortably into the craft brewing segment, which is the fastest growing sector of the US beer market,” he said.

“Anchor brewing has just started a major brewery expansion which is expected to increase production by between 20,000 and 30,000 cases a month.”

“Once that is in place, they have indicated they may be in a position to consider exporting their beer to Australia.”

Cooper said beer exports currently made up about 3 percent of Coopers total business, but was expected to grow this year, despite the high Australian dollar.

The brewery recently installed a second mash tun at its Regency Park brewery, a move which will enable it to boost brewing capacity by up to 50 percent.

The installation was timed to coincide with a brewery maintenance shutdown and should provide Cooper’s with more breathing space in terms of production and take care of anticipated growth over the next few years.

The Shout Team

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