By Andrew Starke

Coopers Brewery says exceptional growth in interstate beer sales in the past six months has enabled it to finish the 2009 calendar year in record territory.

The brewer expects its beer sales to exceed 60 million litres for the first time in 2010.

Coopers managing director, Dr Tim Cooper, said that a total of 58.781 million litres of beer was sold during calendar year 2009, an increase of 4.9 percent over the 2008 figure of 56.024 million litres.

“In the six months ending December 31, 2009, beer sales rose 7.4 percent, with particularly strong growth in NSW (19.2 percent), Victoria (11.9 percent) and Queensland (11.1 percent),” he said.

“Other good markets for us were the Northern Territory (8.4 percent) and overseas (9.3 percent), with most of this export growth being to New Zealand.”

Dr Cooper said that the increased sales between July and December appeared to be associated with a general recovery in the economy, together with a strong performance by Coopers’ interstate distribution company, Premium Beverages.

“The launch of Coopers 62 Pilsner in September was also very successful, with sales being above budget for the first four months,” he said. “However, Coopers Original Pale Ale continues to be the driving force for Coopers, accounting for around 65 percent of our beer sales.”

Dr Cooper said that a number of steps would be taken in 2010 to prepare for the expected continuing growth, including the introduction of a faster packaging line to enhance packaging throughput.

“We are also making preparations for the introduction of a permanent second shift,” he said. “Traditionally, we have only run a second shift ahead of the Christmas and summer holiday period, although for the past couple of years we have also been required to run a second shift early in the year.”

The brewer expects to be in a position to move to a permanent second shift in the second half of the year.

Dr Cooper said that home brew sales had grown by 6.9 percent in the July to December period, while malt extract sales had grown 21 percent and the ultra low alcohol Birell was up 5.2 percent.

The Shout Team

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