Coopers Brewery will produce Sapporo in Australia starting in October

Coopers Brewery will produce Sapporo in Australia starting in October

Coopers Brewery has signed a ten-year licensing agreement with Sapporo to brew and distribute the Japanese brewer's beer in Australia.

Under the deal, which commences in October, Coopers expects to produce the equivalent of 160,000 cases of Sapporo in kegs and bottles at its Regency Park brewery in Adelaide in the first year, rising to 500,000 cases within five years.

“It is the first major contract brewing arrangement to be undertaken by Coopers since moving to Regency Park in 2001,” said managing director Tim Cooper, “although we have been brewing Carlsberg’s ultra low alcohol beer, Birell, since 1977.”

Dr Cooper said sales and distribution would be handled by subsidiary Premium Beverages, which has been looking for a new global brand since losing the Australian rights to Grolsch in 2008 and Budweiser in 2009.

The deal is expected to generate AUD2m (US$2.1m) in annual revenue which will be re-invested in marketing to grow the brand. “In profit terms,” said Cooper, “it might not add very much in the first three to five years.”

Sapporo is currently distributed in Australia by Woolworths, a retail group unrelated to either the South African or collapsed UK retailers of the same name.