Menu Magazine was invited to the 150th birthday celebration of Coopers earlier this week at The Flying Scotsman in Perth.
The background behind the brew is fascinating:
In 1862 South Australia was only 26 years old and, although there were a number of well-established breweries, most settlers preferred to drink imported beer from the mother country rather than colonial beer.
Thomas Cooper saw the opportunity to create a beer that was free from the ‘peculiar flavour’ of colonial ales – he would introduce an all-natural beer from the very best ingredients.
In 1864, Thomas wrote to his brother in Yorkshire and said, “There are some half dozen breweries besides ours in and about Adelaide, but they all use a good deal of sugar and so on for brewing, but we use only malt and hops, consequently, ours being pure, the doctors recommend it to all their patients.”
So although competition was high and times tough (Thomas had a rather large and growing family to provide for), he turned away from his stable job as a stonemason and became a brewer.
His fine ales and stout soon became highly sought-after and Thomas would deliver by horse and cart to a growing number of loyal customers, including another soon to be famous entrepreneurial settler, Dr Penfold of the Grange winery.
Today, Coopers is Australia’s sole remaining family-owned brewery of stature, so it’s still an every day occurrence to meet a Cooper at the Brewery. It is also regarded as one the biggest and best family owned business in the world.
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