Despite the challenges of COVID-19, venue lockdowns and social distancing regulations Coopers Brewery managed to record a 3.9 per cent increase in sales for the 12 months to June 30, 2020.
The result was underpinned by increased demand for Coopers’ canned beers as well as its DIY brew kits, which helped to overcome a 24.4 per cent fall in keg sales.
Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper, said a national consumer-led movement towards trusted, reliable and locally made beer brands helped the brewery.
“In a time of such uncertainty, Australian beer drinkers appear to be choosing brands they feel they can trust,” Dr Cooper said.
“The pandemic has had a significant impact on Australia’s hospitality industry and our keg sales in particular suffered as a result.
“To have emerged in an overall strong position is testament to the loyalty of beer drinkers, the sheer resilience of hoteliers and publicans and the determination of our team at Coopers Brewery. We’re looking to the year ahead with cautious optimism.”
Total beer sales, excluding non-alcoholic beers, for the financial year rose to 79.8 million litres, up from the 76.8 million litres recorded for the previous year.
Across the states, sales volumes increased as follows, apart from a small decline in the NT:
- 13.6 per cent in Western Australia
- 5.8 per cent in New South Wales and ACT
- 4.4 per cent in Queensland
- 2.7 per cent in Victoria and Tasmania
- 0.4 per cent in South Australia
- -1.3 per cent in the Northern Territory
When the Government put venues into lockdown in May, Coopers moved to help venues, as Dr Cooper explained.
“We introduced a number of initiatives to support hotels and venues over this challenging time, including offering refunds on full kegs returned to the company. In total, 13,000 kegs were collected from venues across Australia at a cost of over $3 million,” he said.
“We also launched our online Live, Loud and Local series, a unique ‘virtual pub’ experience featuring A-list musicians, chefs and celebrities showcasing pub culture at its best.”
He added: “We’re planning more campaigns and events to assist venues on the road to recovery over the coming months.”
Coopers also posted a strong increase in sales of DIY brew kits arising from higher demand during the COVID-19 lockdown. Although retail sales experienced a decline in the first half of the financial year, outstanding growth of 166 per cent in the last four months resulted in DIY beer concentrate sales rising by six per cent, from 2,600 tonnes last year to 2,757 tonnes this year.
Profit-before-tax for 2019-20 was $34.3 million, similar to the level recorded in the 2018 financial year, and a strong recovery from the $23.1 million recorded in the 2019 financial year. During the year, around $20.7 million was paid down on debt.