Coopers Brewery has created what could be some of the best jobs in Australia. Coopers and its distribution company Premium Beverages have introduced a team of beer ambassadors, whose job it is to meet, share and talk with customers, consumers, hoteliers, restaurateurs and bar staff around Australia about beer.
According to Cam Pearce, Coopers National Sales and Marketing Director, there is a real thirst for greater knowledge about Coopers’ beer and the brewing practices that make Coopers’ ales and stout unique.
“Many consumers and retailers don’t really understand our unique ales or know much about the story behind brewery itself,” he said.
“The job of the ambassadors is to answer questions, inspire people to try our beers and explain the best way the beers can be presented for maximum enjoyment.
“As a family-owned company with 153 years’ history, Coopers has a great story to tell, while many of our beers are unique in the way they are made.
“Our ambassadors can suggest which of our beers works best with certain foods, discuss the characteristics of different beer styles and recommend different beers for special occasions.
“It’s all about enhancing the experience for customers.”
So far, Coopers and Premium Beverages have appointed three ambassadors.
Adrian Clark is the Coopers’ beer ambassador and is a former member of Coopers’ sponsorship and events team.
Miro Bellini is a former beer sommelier and has extensive experience in the industry. He is also the ambassador for Brooklyn Brewery, whose beers are distributed in Australia by Coopers and Premium Beverages.
Shinichiro Shimo is the beer ambassador for Sapporo and is working closely with Australia’s Asian restaurants. Sapporo is brewed in Australia by Coopers.
Mr Clark’s core activity is sharing his knowledge and insights about Coopers range of ales and the Thomas Cooper selection developed over his 23 years with the company.
“About 90% of my work is explaining how our beers, such as Coopers Original Pale Ale, Sparkling Ale, Vintage Ale, Mild Ale and Stout, differ from almost every other beer on the market and why they are cloudy,” he said.
“It means explaining the secondary fermentation process (natural conditioning) Coopers uses to make these ales, a practice Coopers has been using for 153 years but which is rarely used by other brewers today.
Secondary fermentation involves adding live yeast to the beer at the packaging stage. This creates further alcohol and carbon dioxide which give the ale its “head”. The process is the same one used by traditional champagne manufacturers.
“The process means that Coopers’ ales continue to evolve in the bottle, while all lagers begin to deteriorate the moment they are packed.”
Mr Clark said interstate markets were still discovering Coopers beers and his work was about sharing Coopers’ unique story and products with consumers and the trade.
Mr Bellini said the increasing number of imported beers entering Australia and the emergence of the craft beer sector meant that beer drinkers today were more discerning and knowledgeable than ever before.
“Beer is following the path already taken by a number of other products, such as coffee, olive oil, breads and even milk,” he said.
“In the past coffee was either black or white. Today consumers choose between dozens of coffee styles as well as bean blends and varieties.
“Today bar staff are asked to explain the difference between American and Australian Pale Ales and talk to consumers about beer styles, which foods they complement and the best way to serve them.
“The more they know, understand and enjoy beer, the more likely it is they will sell it.”
Shinichiro Shimo migrated to Australia in 2013 after working in the beer industry in Japan, importing European draught beer equipment. He began work at Premium Beverages in Melbourne in 2014 with a key focus on driving sales of Sapporo, particularly in the Asian restaurant trade.
One of his key tasks has been explaining the correct way to pour Sapporo to maximise customers’ enjoyment.
“The difference between an Australian beer, such as Coopers Original Pale Ale and Sapporo is that Pale Ale doesn’t need as big a head,” he said.
“Lagers such as Sapporo need a bigger head on the glass to prevent oxidisation. Customers sometimes say they have paid for beer, not head, but the head is additional.”
Mr Shimo said another question frequently asked was the difference between Sapporo brewed locally by Coopers and imported Sapporo.
“We send production samples from Coopers to the Sapporo brewing team in Japan,” he said.
“The Sapporo produced in Australia is very good and is rated as equivalent to the black label Sapporo produced in Japan. It’s a very well balanced beer.”
Mr Pearce said the role of the beer ambassadors is to share their passion and excitement about beer as well as to provide information as they engage with more people to become involved in the category.