Coopers enters cider market with international agreement

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 3rd February 2014
Coopers will bring Thatchers Gold cider to Australia

Australian brewery Coopers Brewery (Coopers) has announced an agreement with UK cider manufacturer Thatchers Cider to keg and distribute Thatchers Gold to the on-premise market in Australia.

The contract to distribute Thatchers Gold, which is the second largest draught cider in the UK, was signed late in 2013 and the cider is currently being put on tap in hotels across Australia.

“We expect Thatchers Gold will have a major impact on the draught cider market in Australia,” said Dr Tim Cooper, Coopers’ Managing Director. “It is highly regarded as one of the world’s best ciders and its a great fit within our portfolio of high quality beers. We are determined to establish Thatchers Gold as a premium brand in the growing Australian cider market,” he said.

Australian Food News reported in August 2013 that there had been a boom in the cider market in Australia, especially among younger drinkers. In December 2013, Australian Food News reported that market research organisation Canadean had found that cider in Australia was enjoying a “perfect storm” and the market was predicted to continue growing. Other companies have entered the Australian cider market in recent times as well. Australian Food News reported in January 2014 that food and beverage company Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) had returned to the beer and cider market.

Coopers looked for three years for “right partner” in cider

Dr Cooper said Coopers had been looking at the cider market in Australia for the past three years, but had not found the right partner until now. He said Coopers was contacted by Thatcher in 2013 and there was “an immediate affinity” between the two companies.

“Thatchers is a fourth generation family business that produces premium quality products,” Dr Cooper said. “It has been growing rapidly in the past 20 years and the fit seemed right. We are extremely excited about the possibilities,” he said.

Martin Thatcher, Managing Director of Thatchers, said he was “delighted” that an agreement had been finalised.

“There are so many synergies between Thatchers and Coopers that I’m absolutely convinced this has always been a partnership just waiting to happen,” Mr Thatcher said. “Both companies share similar values of heritage, family history, quality and most importantly a deep rooted care for their business and their customers,” he said.

Thatchers Gold is brewed in Somerset in the UK, “the home of English cider”, according to Mr Thathcher. The blend uses specific cider apples.

“We are delighted that we may soon be sharing our cider with Coopers’ customers — we hope our friends in Australia will enjoy their pint of Gold as much as we do in the UK,” Mr Thatcher said.

Under the arrangement, tankers of bulk cider are being shipped to Coopers’ brewery at Regency Park from Thatchers’ facility at Myrtle farm in Sandford, North Somerset. The cider will be kegged by Coopers into Coopers’ standard kegs, to integrate into the existing systems of hotels, clubs and bars around Australia. Premium Beverages will also distribute Thatchers packaged cider.

Coopers’ Chairman, Mr Glenn Cooper, said he was currently negotiating to have draught Thatchers Gold on sale at the Clipsal 500 motor racing event to be held in Adelaide in late February 2014 and expected it would create “enormous interest”.

Thatchers is a fourth generation family company that began producing cider in 1904 when William Thatcher started making the product on his farm at Somerset. It began selling draught cider to pubs in 1904. Today the company grows apples on 360 acres and processes around 25,000 tonnes of fruit per year. Products include a range of single varietal ciders, premium, draught and fruit and pear ciders.