By James Atkinson
Australian liquor retailers must support quality and diversity in their product ranges or risk losing another brewer to overseas interests, warns Coopers executive chairman Glenn Cooper.
Speaking as Coopers prepares to celebrate its 150th birthday as a family-owned company, Cooper told TheShout that the recent sale of Foster's to SABMiller sends a clear message to the Australian liquor industry.
"We have now seen the loss of a major iconic brewery to overseas interests," he said.
"In Australia, ignoring brand awareness and having products that are purely driven on price only is surely a recipe for failure or a takeover in the future by global conglomerates."
Cooper also questioned the longevity of the cider market in Australia, and said the company had no intention of entering the category.
"While it is experiencing substantial growth it is still a small part of the overall market when compared to beer volumes," he said.
"I also note that there are now a myriad of cider brands flooding the market, with the major brewers controlling a large share, and I don't like getting in the boxing ring with global companies who have huge marketing dollars to spend."
"Finally, I would say that cider still may turn out to be a short-term trend and that consumers may move onto something new," Cooper said.
See the January/February issue of National Liquor News for a full interview with Glenn Cooper.