Thomas Cooper & Sons

Coopers Brewery Limited

In 1852, Thomas Cooper immigrated from England and established a shoemaking business in Norwood. However, when his wife became ill, Thomas turned to brewing as a means of creating a tonic from his wife's recipe. This newfound talent led him to abandon the shoemaking business and construct a brewery on George Street in Norwood.

During the 19th century, bottled beers were not as popular as cask beers, causing difficulties for Thomas in selling his products. He overcame this obstacle by selling his beers door-to-door from a horse-drawn cart. Coopers beers were not available in hotels until the 1920s.

As the Norwood brewery became too small for the growing demand, a new site was sourced on High Street in Kensington in 1872. However, this new brewery was plagued by bad luck, including the death of Thomas' wife, Ann Laycock Cooper, in July of that year. This, along with issues with the brewery, led to a decrease in the quality and profitability of the beer. In 1874, Thomas remarried and his eldest son, John, joined him full-time at the brewery. With this added help, the quality of the beer improved and the brewery's popularity grew.

In 1881, Thomas determined that the Kensington site was no longer suitable for brewing and began building a new brewery on a paddock in Upper Kensington, now known as Leabrook. The new site featured a vast paddock and proximity to a reliable water source, and no expense was spared in making it better than the previous brewery. This new brewery remained in use for 120 years.

After Thomas' death in 1897, the brewery was continued by his sons John, Christopher, Samuel and Stanley. The company was incorporated as Cooper and Sons Ltd in 1923 and remains a family concern managed by descendants of Thomas Cooper to this day.

In 1962, Coopers Brewery and the South Australian Brewing Company Ltd exchanged shares, with Coopers focusing on English-style ales and SAB on lagers. Coopers shares were repurchased in 1993 by Lion Nathan. In 1968, Coopers introduced their first lager beer, Gold Crown, though it had only mild success compared to their flagship ales.

The popularity of lager beers in the 1970s almost spelled disaster for Coopers, as the market for ales diminished. The company struggled for several years, and the children of the Cooper family were encouraged to seek other professions. The legalization of home brewing in the 1970s provided a new opportunity for Coopers, as they supplied beer wort in kits to the public. This additional revenue saved the company from insolvency and revitalized it.

In the 1980s, Coopers began kegging their beers and, for the first time, hotels were able to sell Coopers on tap. The rise in popularity of ales in the 1980s, a style of beer that was previously lacking in Australia, benefited Coopers. They rereleased their Light Dinner Ale, now renamed Original Pale Ale, and it quickly gained popularity. The company rebranded as Coopers Brewery Limited in 1989, capitalizing on their colonial brewery heritage while appealing to a younger demographic.

By the end of the 1990s, the Leabrook brewery was holding the company back. Limited space for expansion and strict regulations on production hours due to its location in a residential area constrained the brewery's growth. A new, state-of-the-art brewery was constructed in Regency Park, and it began operations in 2000. This new location allowed for around-the-clock production and spurred steady growth, with the brewery expanding after ten years and currently holding over 5% of the national





Thomas Cooper & Sons
Coopers Brewery Limited

Brewery ID : 5.001.023

Cooper & Sons -1862 to 1881
George Street, Norwood
High Street, Kensington
T Cooper & Sons - 1881 to 1923
Statenborough Street, Leabrook
Cooper & Sons Limited - 1923 to 1989
Coopers Brewery Limited - 1989 to Present
South Road, Regency Park

Established : 1862



Thomas Cooper



The Leabrook Brewery 1893

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