Coopers Brewery has defied falling Australian beer consumption, increased pressure on margins and higher malt prices to post record beer sales and revenues for 2014-15.
Total beer sales for the year rose 4.7% to 78.8 million litres, the 22nd consecutive year of growth,
while revenue for 2014-15 increased from $231.3 million in 2013-14 to $235.1 million.
After tax profit increased by 3.2% to $28.9 million, up from $28 million.
Coopers Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper, said that while Coopers’ packaged beer sales rose 6.3%, keg beer volumes fell 2.7% to 12.8 million litres.
“This decline in our draught beer volume is to a level we last saw in 2009,” he said.
“This mirrors the fall in Australian beer consumption since 2009, when the national volume was
18.7 million hectolitres (1.87 billion litres).
Australia is now drinking less than 17 million hectolitres per annum, levels last seen in 1972.
“This troubling fall in consumption represents a loss of nearly 10% of Australia’s beer volume in six
years, despite a growing population.”
Dr Cooper said Coopers’ margins continued to be under pressure as retailers fought to maintain their profits in the face of declining volumes.
“This has seen demands for increased discounts and rebates from retailers,” he said.
“Higher rebates for kegged beer result in upward pressure on wholesale prices, which in turn results in further reductions in consumer demand.
“Coopers also faced a significant rise in the cost of malt, one of our key ingredients, with the price
increasing by $60 a tonne during 2014-15.”
Dr Cooper said that despite the pressures, Coopers had managed to increase its market share to almost 5% of the total beer market.
“Our international beer portfolio continued to perform strongly, underpinned by excellent relationships with our international partners, Carlsberg and Sapporo,” he said.
“We also reached agreement late in the year with US craft brewer Brooklyn Brewing to brew and distribute Brooklyn Lager in Australia and New Zealand.”