Sales rise at Coopers as beer demand fails to wane

Posted by James Ferre on 10th November 2009

South Australian brewer, Coopers Brewery, has announced sales growth of 5 per cent in the 2008-09 financial year, bringing turnover to $169 million. Profit after tax also rose, albeit by a small margin, to $20.3 million from $20.2 million the previous year.

Total sales volume for beer rose by 1%, led by a 6.3% increase in sales outside Coopers’ home markets of South Australia and the Northern Territory. Coopers now accounts for 3.4% of the total Australian beer market, up from 3.3% at the end of the 2007-08 financial year, the company advised.

Coopers Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper, said profits were affected by the high malt prices that prevailed throughout the year, while the financial slowdown had reduced the growth in sales enjoyed in previous years.

“While the financial slowdown did impact on beer sales, this was partially offset by a rise of 3.9% in home brew sales,” he said. “Part of this improvement was attributed to the tighter economic conditions resulting from the Global Financial Crisis, as sales of home brew concentrates have historically been seen to rise in times of economic slowdown.”

Dr Cooper said export beer volume had risen by 2.9% for the year, despite the high level of the Australian dollar. He added that interstate growth was also expected to increase as a result of the activities of Premium Beverages, an 80% owned subsidiary of Coopers responsible for driving interstate sales, and the introduction of new products.

Premium Beverages was also previously responsible for the distribution of Budweiser within Australia and New Zealand. However, these distribution rights will cease in December this year following the purchase of Anheuser-Busch by global brewer InBev in late 2008 and a review of distribution arrangements.

“This change may create opportunities to explore alternative options in pursuing distribution of international premium beers,” Dr Cooper advised.