After more than 150 years of dominating brewing in its home state of South Australia, the family-owned Coopers is reaching out to drinkers in other states more than ever before, with NSW poised to become the company's largest domestic market.
The brewer is consolidating its position in the eastern states and leveraging a string of licensing deals with international brewers to distribute popular foreign beers including Carlsberg, Sapporo, Kronenbourg 1664 and Mythos.
Coopers said on Wednesday that, in January this year, its beer sales in NSW topped those of its home state for the first time.
"While the result was not repeated in February, March or April, there was no doubt that NSW would quickly overtake South Australia on a regular basis," Coopers chairman Glenn Cooper said.
"On a year-to-date basis [July to April], South Australia accounts for 29 per cent of Coopers' total sales compared with almost 26 per cent for NSW ... However, the gap is narrowing quickly."
Mr Cooper said he believed Coopers was winning market share from the major brewers, Foster's and Lion.
He said more Coopers beer was sold in NSW in January than South Australia (2 million litres verses 1.6 million litres), with this soon to become the standard. "Sales in NSW have been increasing at double-digit, or close to double-digit, rates for the past 10 years and are continuing to grow strongly," Mr Cooper said.
"Four of the five biggest Coopers-selling outlets in Australia are in NSW, with the Steyne Hotel and Manly Wharf Hotel at Manly, the Beach Road Hotel at Bondi, and the Great Northern Hotel at Byron Bay nipping at the heels of the Exeter Hotel in Adelaide."
Mr Cooper said the situation underlined the transition Coopers was making from being a South Australian beer maker to a national brand.
In the last calendar year, South Australia represented 30.5 per cent of total sales, but that proportion is falling as interstate sales increase.