Australia: Coopers suffers from first volume decline in 24 years

Coopers Brewery, the largest family owned brewery in Australia suffered from its first decline in volume beer sales in the last 24 years. Dr Tim Cooper, managing director of Coopers, said on Monday that annual profit in 2017-18 had increased by 2.7 percent from  $33.4m for the previous financial year to $34.3m in the current financial year, however, volume sales fell by alarming 9.1 percent. “This ended 24 consecutive years of volume growth at a compound annual growth rate of 8.9 percent,” Dr Copper said.

“Factors behind the lower volumes included an increasingly active craft beer market, more aggressive retail space management and pricing by international brewers, and the introduction of the Container Deposit Scheme in NSW. The impact of the deletion of some Coopers brands in decline, and forward buying by retailers in June 2017 which was not repeated in 2018, were other factors,” he added.

Sales were worst hit in Western Australia (-17.7 per cent) but also in Victoria (-15.9 per cent) Queensland (-11.6 per cent) and NSW (-11.1 per cent), where the impact of the new Container Deposit Scheme increased the costs of bottles and cans.

Container Deposit Scheme is a scheme that was first implemented in South Australia in 1977. In 2012 it was also implemented in the Northern Territory. The Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales followed in June 2018 and in December 2017 respectively. Queensland will pursue a scheme in partnership with NSW for implementation by 1 November 2018 and Western Australia has announced plans for a scheme commencing in early 2020.

Dollar sales of Coopers were positively impacted by the decision to build an own A$65 million malting plant at its Regency Park brewery in Adelaide's western suburbs, which went on stream one year ago (, 30.11.2017). This has proved to be the correct decision as “the opening of the new malting plant has delivered substantial savings on malt costs, along with improved malt quality,” Dr Cooper said.

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