Coopers Brewing: A brand in the process of jumping the shark?

South Australia’s Coopers Brewery has built a strong brand based on its heritage values. Outside of its home state of South Australia, where it produces a number of lower-volume beers, it is known for hand-crafted, bottle-conditioned ales. Coopers drinkers feel an attachment to the company, which remains defiantly family-owned after all these years. Coopers drinkers will proudly tell you that the cloudiness of their beers is proof that this beer is alive. That it’s good for you, even.

Coopers Sparkling Ale

This is what makes Coopers’ recent product launches so baffling. In recent times they’ve launched Coopers ‘62, a not-very-good European-style Pilsner, and now Coopers Clear, which is apparently inspired by the antithesis of all that Coopers has ever stood for.

Coopers is doing whatever they need to increase their market share, and I understand the drivers for that. But in producing also-ran beers they risk alienating their devoted fans (and Coopers drinkers ARE fans) and diluting the brand as they do so.

Ask someone today what Coopers stands for and they’ll tell you: natural, handcrafted, bottle-conditioned ales, produced by a family that cares about its heritage.

Ask them in six months or a year and they’ll have no idea.

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