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Coopers Brewery: heritage and innovation within a family firm


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Byrom, JW and Lehman, KF 2009 , 'Coopers Brewery: heritage and innovation within a family firm' , Marketing Intelligence and Planning, vol. 27, no. 4 , pp. 516-523 , doi: 10.1108/02634500910964074.

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Purpose – The Australian brewing sector has been subject to ever-increasing concentration over
recent years. Yet one firm, Coopers Brewery of South Australia, has managed to expand its market
share in a highly competitive trading environment. This paper aims to consider how Coopers, one of
the few family firms “of stature” in that sector, has succeeded.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper adopts a case-study approach to illustrate the various
factors which have contributed to the firm’s success. Fieldwork took place at Coopers’ headquarters in
Adelaide and secondary data sources are also drawn upon.
Findings – With fifth-generation family members in charge at the company, Coopers has been
able to distinguish itself from its main competitors in the sector, two multinational conglomerates
with a combined market share of around 90 per cent. Coupled with investment in production
facilities, the case-study firm’s expansion into new domestic and international markets has proved
to be profitable. Part of Coopers’ success lies in the niche marketing strategies it has employed –
strategies which emphasise the company’s unique products and stress their history and traditions.
The concept of the extended family is highlighted through the company’s approach to its
consumers and staff members. Philanthropic activities also enhance the company’s reputation in
the community at large.
Practical implications – For managers, the case provides clear indications of the various
successful niche marketing strategies which a family business in the brewing sector has adopted.
Originality/value – The case provides evidence of how one company has been able to draw on its
traditions whilst at the same time maintaining its relevance to the market.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Byrom, JW and Lehman, KF
Keywords: Brewing, Heritage, Innovation, Family firms, Australia
Journal or Publication Title: Marketing Intelligence and Planning
ISSN: 0263-4503
DOI / ID Number: 10.1108/02634500910964074
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