By Andrew Starke
Coopers Brewery will brew Sapporo beer locally after managing director, Dr Tim Cooper, put pen to paper on the lucrative deal this afternoon (July 19).
Sapporo Breweries has four breweries in Japan but will now be brewed in Adelaide and distributed throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands by Coopers.
Under the terms of the agreement, Coopers will brew Sapporo Premium Beer at its Regency Park brewery, with sales and distribution to be undertaken by subsidiary, Premium Beverages, from October 1.
A contract between Coopers and Sapporo was signed at Sapporo’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, today by Coopers’ managing director, Dr Tim Cooper, Premium Beverages managing director, Bruce Siney and Yoshi Mochida, president and CEO of Sapporo International.
“It is the first major contract brewing arrangement to be undertaken by Coopers since moving to Regency Park in 2001, although we have been brewing Carlsberg’s ultra low alcohol beer, Birell, since 1977,” Cooper said.
Cooper described Sapporo Premium as a clean, crisp tasting lager with refined bitterness, which is becoming increasingly popular world-wide, and will be available in 355ml bottles, 650ml cans, and 50 litre kegs.
“We have been in discussions with Sapporo about this contract since last year, and have hosted a number of visits from Sapporo representatives to inspect our facilities,” he said.
“The technical interchange in Australia and in Japan with the Sapporo brewers has been both encouraging and informative.
”I look forward to a long future working together in pursuing brewing excellence, and a strong market position through Premium Beverages for the Sapporo brand in Australia and New Zealand.”
Siney said it was anticipated around 160,000 cases of Sapporo would be sold in the first year, with sales expected to reach 500,000 cases within five years and would enhance the portfolio of beers distributed by Premium Beverages.
Sapporo was founded in Japan in 1876 and currently has four breweries in Japan, four in Canada and one in Vietnam, which is under construction.
In 2006, it purchased Canadian brewer, Sleeman.
Coopers’ stellar growth in Australia over the past 15 years has come largely at the expense of mainstream beers and the Sapporo deal commits the brewer to the premium sector at a time when sales have been slowing.