Coopers Brewery continues to grow and I find myself feeling a little sorry for them from time to time these days. Go back jus a decade and they were revered by many as a bulwark against the blandness. For such a long time they were the one choice in many pubs and restaurants for those who wanted something other than a mainstream lager in its myriad of identical forms. Today, highlighting the change in the local market, the brewery seems to be be derided by many beer as the third big brewery rather than the largest of the small breweries. Sure, it’s got mainstream-oriented beers such as Clear and 62 in its range, but there are plenty of microbreweries brewing beers with similar beers in their line-ups. It’s also brewing Sparkling, Stout and Vintage to square the ledger. So far as size goes, with their annual production of slightly more than 60 million litres, they are still much smaller than Sierra Nevada (84 millions litres) in size.
Right or wrong, expect their ‘mainstream’ perception will no doubt increase as they continue to seek growth and business security. To provide some recent historical perspective to this release, I have posted a couple of articles I wrote five a years ago dealing with their history and travails as some background to the brewery.
Coopers Brewery has installed a second mash tun at its Regency Park brewery, a move which will enable it to boost brewing capacity by up to 50%.
The 10 metre tall, stainless steel vessel, which has a working capacity of about 41,000 litres, was lowered into position in the Coopers brewhouse by crane today (Friday August 19), an operation which required part of the brewery roof to be removed.
The installation was timed to coincide with a brewery maintenance shutdown.
Coopers Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper, said installation of the new mash tun was being supervised by specialist British process engineering firm Briggs of Burton, which had supervised construction of Coopers’ current brewhouse.
“When the brewhouse was built in 2000-2001, we made provision for the eventual installation of a second mash tun to cope with future growth,” Dr Cooper said.
“That time has now arrived and will enable us to increase production from eight brews per day to 12.
“All the necessary plumbing and connections were already in place, which means installation and integration of the new mash tun should take place quite quickly.”
The mash tun is the vessel in which malted barley is hydrated by the addition of warm water, allowing the natural enzymes to extract the malt sugars, which are fermented to make beer.
Dr Cooper said additional equipment, including a new “Steeles Masher”, was also being installed to help increase yields. The total value of the new equipment is about $1.5 million.
“We anticipate the new mash tun will be operational within the next two months,” he said.
“It will provide us with a little more breathing space in terms of production and take care of anticipated growth over the next few years.”