Iconic South Australian brewing company Coopers has today announced it will construct a new $50 million visitor centre, microbrewery and whisky distillery at its Regency Park site in the inner-northern suburbs of Adelaide.
The announcement comes during Coopers’ 160th year in operation, with the plans to embody “the past, present and future of Australia’s largest independent family-owned brewery with domestic and international tourists front of mind”, also marking the company’s expansion into whisky making.
The expansion will include a restaurant and bar, outdoor dining plaza, dedicated tasting room, interactive history centre, microbrewery, whisky distillery and underground stillage for whisky maturation.
Inspired by the company’s logo, the new two-storey development features a unique curved design, with the structures encompassing a sloping amphitheatre showcasing the brewery grounds and maltings.
Coopers managing director Dr Tim Cooper said the announcement brings the total investment into the company’s Regency Park facility to nearly $400 million since 1999.
“This is an ambitious project which will showcase Australian beer to the world. We’re very proud of our story over the past 160 years, arising from humble beginnings to prevail as an Australian-owned and operated brewery despite wars, recessions and takeover offers,” Dr Cooper said.
“This new visitor centre is about celebrating our history and our originality, with an emphasis on what makes Coopers different. We look forward to welcoming local, interstate and international visitors to our brewing home to hear about our past, to learn about the art and science of brewing and to taste our beers.
“Although we’ve been running brewery tours since 2006, this extensive development will augment and expand the guest experience, creating a lasting impression for new visitors and an ongoing connection for our loyal consumers with new tour and tasting experiences.”
A new 3200 L microbrewery will be prominently displayed and will allow the Coopers brewing team to develop more craft-style beers to supplement its current portfolio. The microbrewery will be used in the regular creation of new ales and lagers for the visitor centre.
Adjacent to the microbrewery will be a whisky distillery comprising a 9600 L wash still and a 5500 L spirit still. ‘Wash’ for the wash still will be supplied by the microbrewery, with the initial objective of producing 200,000 bottles per year.
Dr Cooper notes it will be some years before the finished whisky product can be sampled though.
“We have been thinking about malt whisky for some time as we see it as a natural extension to our on-site maltings and our experience in brewing and fermentation,” Dr Cooper said.
“Our goal is to achieve the highest possible level of spirit quality to match our reputation in brewing. Having our own maltings will allow us to tell the whole story from the barley grower to the whisky glass.”
Coopers strategy development manager and sixth generation family member Louise Cooper said the proposed development was expected to be completed in time to welcome the first visitors by Christmas next year once construction kicks off mid-2022, pending Council approval.
“As well as appealing to beer aficionados, the visitor centre will offer a welcoming atmosphere for the whole family,” Louise said.
“Both the restaurant and the outdoor plaza will provide the perfect setting to enjoy a meal while taking in the view of the landscaped surrounds.”
The announcement builds on already unveiled plans to expand its warehousing facilities at Regency Park with a $15 million price tag.
The expansion, announced in November 2021, will boost beer storage capacity at the brewery by almost 50 per cent, allowing Coopers to store all its product on-site.
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