Key Historical Dates


1862 On May 13, Thomas Cooper brews his first recorded brew. Made from four bushels of English malt and eight pounds of Kent hops in 46 gallons of water, this brew was fermented as a pale ale and a heavier ale.

1870 Thomas moves his operations to High Street, Kensington. In 1870 and 1871, he brews 16 brews a year of between 100 and 150 gallons a batch, to sell to regular customers.

1872 Thomas’ first wife, Ann, dies in July, aged 44. Thomas is left with seven surviving children, the youngest less than a year old.

1874 Thomas marries Sarah Perry in July. Sarah has eight children with Thomas, although only five survive infancy.

1880 In February, Thomas purchases land at Upper Kensington (Leabrook) to build a new brewery which costs £550.

1881 The first brew of about 400 gallons of beer is produced at the Leabrook Brewery in July. Leabrook remains the home of Coopers for the next 120 years.

1897 Thomas Cooper dies on December 31, aged 71. The running of the brewery had been safely passed on to sons John, Christopher, Samuel, and Stanley.

1905 – Coopers commences beer sales hotels.

1923 Coopers is incorporated in October. ”A” and “B” class shares are created, and John and Stanley are appointed the first Directors of Coopers.

1928 Coopers brew one million gallons of beer for the first time (4.5 million litres).

1942 Coopers employs its first full time female employee, Betty Kitto.

1953 Maxwell Cooper begins work at the brewery. He was the first formally educated brewer to work at Coopers, having graduated at the School of Malting and Brewing at Birmingham University.

1954 Beer volume reaches 1.8 million gallons (8.2 million litres).

1957 A new bottling line is installed, running at 120 bottles per minute.

1960 Bill Cooper joins the brewery.

1962 Coopers and SA Brewing Company agree to an exchange of shares to help protect both companies from potential takeovers.

1967 At the January meeting, Coopers Board votes to introduce lager beers and approves major capital spending for new plant and equipment.

1968 Coopers launches its first lager beer Gold Crown in September.

1969 Geoff Cooper appointed Chairman and Managing Director. Bill and Maxwell Cooper appointed to the Board.

1974 New bottling hall built.

1975 Plant commissioned to fill 280 bottles per minute. Beer volume reaches 3 million gallons (13.6 million litres).

1977 Bill Cooper appointed Managing Director.

1977 Non-alcoholic Birell produced under contract from Brauerie Hurlimann (of Zurich).

1977 Coopers launches Brewer’s Own Pack (home-brew) in Melbourne.

1982 Puncheon use for yeast cropping ends, following introduction of centrifugation.

1983 Kegs produced for first time using ex-Tooth’s equipment. New warehouse is built on Stanley St.

1984 Coopers sells SA Brewing shares to fund development of a new brewhouse. Alfa Laval evaporation plant installed to produce home brew concentrates.

1985 Coopers becomes official beer supplier to the first Formula One Grand Prix in Adelaide.

1986 Coopers opens Adelaide Malting Company with partner Bill Gill as Managing Director.

1987 Renovated Earl of Aberdeen Hotel officially opened by Dame Edna Everage.

1988 Coopers changes name from Cooper & Sons Ltd to Coopers Brewery Ltd. Glenn Cooper appointed to the Board (after retirement of his father Ken). Distribution and warehousing are moved to Norwood at Woodroofe’s former site.

1989 James Cooper appointed to the Board following the retirement of his father Geoff.

1990 Tim Cooper joins the brewery as Technical Manager, having studied brewing at the University of Birmingham in 1986–87. Maxwell Cooper appointed Chairman.

1992 Leabrook Farms Honey introduced.

1993 Lion Nathan buys SAB and decides to sell the SAB owned hotels.

1994 Automation of filling and packing of home

1995 In a complex resolution to litigation, the Company and shareholders buy back shares sold to SA Brewing Company in 1962.

1996 Modernisation of refrigeration and lager cellar, with automatic valves for yeast and beer transfer, and introduction of Aber meter. Removal of bottle washer marks the end of refillable bottles.

1997 Tim Cooper appointed as Director.

1998 Coopers acquires the former STA Workshops building and associated land at Regency Park for a new brewery.

1999 Single strain ale yeast is cultured to replace the mixed culture that had been in continuous use since 1910. Beer volume reaches 20 million litres.

2001 Coopers’ new brewery at Regency Park is officially opened in November.

2002 Tim Cooper appointed Managing Director, Glenn Cooper appointed Chairman. Premium Beverages formed to manage sales and distribution outside SA/NT.

2004 Mild Ale developed following trade request to create a lighter pale ale.

2005 New lager yeast introduced to produce Premium Lager and Light. Lion Nathan launches a hostile takeover bid for Coopers on September 1st. In December, Coopers’ shareholders vote to change constitution to effectively defeat the Lion Nathan takeover bid.

2008 Introduction of second iteration of reverse taper 375 ml bottle, following negotiated purchase of the ex-Toohey’s light-weight bottle in 2001.

2009 Bill Cooper retires as Director, Melanie Cooper is appointed as the first female Director of Coopers.

2010 Coopers Clear launched following research on the low-carbohydrate market.

2011 Coopers signs agreement to brew Sapporo Premium for distribution in Australia and New Zealand.

2011 Following the takeover of Fosters by SABMiller, Coopers becomes the last major Australian owned brewery.

2012 Coopers commemorates its 150th anniversary with nation-wide celebrations and launches a brand new ale, not surprisingly called ‘Celebration Ale’!

2012 Coopers commences brewing and distribution for Carlsberg in Australia.