Coopers to create "world-class" visitor experience
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Coopers Brewery will invest $50 million in the construction of a new world-class visitor centre, microbrewery and whisky distillery at its Regency Park site.
In its 160th year, Coopers has unveiled plans of an exciting expansion that embodies the past, present and future of Australia’s largest independent family-owned brewery with domestic and international tourists front of mind.
The expansion will include:
- Restaurant and bar
- Outdoor plaza dining
- Dedicated tasting room
- Interactive history display
- Whisky distillery
- Underground stillage for whisky maturation
The unique curved design of the new two-storey development has been inspired by the iconic Coopers’ label rondel – the curved structures encompass a sloping amphitheatre which will showcase the brewery grounds and maltings.
A tree-lined promenade will extend from a new entry from Regency Road to bring visitors to the new facility which will be surrounded by extensive natural landscaping. A window-lined bridge will link the new development to the existing brewery building and will feature a 300m2 interactive history display.
Coopers Managing Director Dr Tim Cooper said it was opportune to be making this announcement in the 160th year of the sixth-generation family company, and brings total investment at Regency Park to nearly $400 million since 1999.
“This is an ambitious project which will showcase Australian beer to the world. We’re very proud of our story over the past 160 years, arising from humble beginnings to prevail as an Australian-owned and operated brewery despite wars, recessions and takeover offers,” Dr Cooper said.
“This new visitor centre is about celebrating our history and our originality, with an emphasis on what makes Coopers different. We look forward to welcoming local, interstate and international visitors to our brewing home to hear about our past, to learn about the art and science of brewing and to taste our beers.
“Although we’ve been running brewery tours since 2006, this extensive development will augment and expand the guest experience, creating a lasting impression for new visitors and an ongoing connection for our loyal consumers with new tour and tasting experiences.”
A new 3200 L microbrewery will be prominently displayed and will allow the Coopers brewing team to develop more craft-style beers to supplement its current portfolio. The microbrewery will be used in the regular creation of new ales and lagers for the visitor centre.
Adjacent to the microbrewery will be a whisky distillery comprising a 9600 L wash still and a 5500 L spirit still. ‘Wash’ for the wash still will be supplied by the microbrewery, with the initial objective of producing 200,000 bottles per year. However, consumers will need to wait some years before the finished product can be sampled.
“We have been thinking about malt whisky for some time as we see it as a natural extension to our on-site maltings and our experience in brewing and fermentation,” Dr Cooper said.
“Our goal is to achieve the highest possible level of spirit quality to match our reputation in brewing. Having our own maltings will allow us to tell the whole story from the barley grower to the whisky glass.”
Sixth generation family members and cousins, Andrew Cooper and Louise Cooper, have been closely involved in the design and planning process of the new centre, which includes designated hospitality and industry areas.
“Coopers beer is enjoyed by drinkers all over the world,” said Andrew who is the brewery’s Export Manager.
“With this new visitor centre we aim to provide another compelling reason for tourists to come to South Australia and enjoy an authentic and immersive beer cellar door experience.”
Louise Cooper, the company’s Strategy Development Manager, said the proposed development was hoped to be completed in time to welcome its first visitors by Christmas next year.
“As well as appealing to beer aficionados, the visitor centre will offer a welcoming atmosphere for the whole family. Both the restaurant and the outdoor plaza will provide the perfect setting to enjoy a meal while taking in the view of the landscaped surrounds,” Louise said.
Construction is expected to begin around mid-2022 pending Council approval.
It is the second major capital expenditure announcement by Coopers in four months. Back in November, Coopers revealed plans for a $15 million 5500 square metre expansion to its warehousing facilities at Regency Park. The expansion will boost beer storage capacity at the brewery by almost 50%, allowing Coopers to store all its product on site, as currently some is stored off-site.
- Founded in 1862, Coopers Brewery is a sixth-generation family company.
- Its Regency Park brewery was officially opened in 2001, 120 years after Coopers’ former brewery in suburban Leabrook was opened.
- In 2017, Coopers opened a $68 million malting plant on site at Regency Park.
- Coopers posted total beer sales, excluding non-alcoholic beers, of 82.3 million litres in the 12 months to June 30, 2021 – a rise of 2.8% from the previous financial year.