Thomas Cooper's first ale in 1862 starts family brewery now largest to be Australian-owned

The despatching shed at Coopers' previous brewery site in Leabrook during the 1940s.

Coopers, the largest Australian-owned brewery, originated in Norwood in 1862 when Thomas Cooper used an old family recipe to brew ale as a tonic for his wife. It soon became popular throughout the colony.

Thomas Cooper passed on what became his brewery business to his four sons, the start of a continuing chain of six generations of family control of the business.
Coopers shares are primarily owned by the extended Cooper family, with a constitution and different classes of shares, decided in 1923, making it difficult to sell shares outside the family.

In 1962, Coopers & Sons and the South Australian Brewing Company, as the only remaining Adelaide breweries, decided to ward off takeovers by swapping shares.
Coopers sold their 2% of SA Brewing (at a big profit) in 1984 but SA Brewing held onto its 25% of Coopers until 1995. SA Brewing had been taken over in 1993 by Lion Nathan (who also made a play for Coopers) but the buyback and share arrangements in 1995 put the company firmly back in Coopers family hands.

In 1968, Coopers made a significant move to producing its first lager, after 105 years of making only ale and stout. This was despite resistance by older board members, fearing it would compete with SA Brewing.

Another big move came in 2001 when it moved from the site of its original plant in Leabrook to much bigger premises at Regency Park.

The new energy-efficient plant brought state-of-the-art technology to the Thomas Cooper tradition.

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