Ep 64 Glenn Cooper on what it takes to run the world's top family business, Coopers Brewery

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Coopers Brewery is one of Australia’s most iconic and much loved brands. It is the country's largest independent brewing company, the world’s largest producer of home-brew equipment, and rated the world’s top family business.  

Coopers chairman, Glenn Cooper, shared the brewery's amazing story on Rooster Radio. 

Glenn is a fifth generation Cooper. The company was founded by Thomas Cooper in 1862, and has survived recessions, the Great Depression, World War 2 and other enormous challenges, including a hostile takeover attempt. 

Glenn talks about the pivotal moments for Coopers, and why its shareholders strongly oppose “selling out” despite the potential for a big pay day.  

Joining the family business wasn’t initially on Glenn’s career plan. He was told to choose another path, as the brewery would not survive let alone thrive. 

So he studied engineering and found success in his own right after starting a computing company. Glenn says that jobs for family members at the brewery are not automatic, they need to be earned after life experience has been gained in other fields. 

After joining the company in 1990 and taking on the sales and marketing portfolio, Glenn was credited for helping Coopers reach new levels of growth, including international.  

You’re in for an entertaining hour with Glenn Cooper, with great insights, stories and plenty of laughs.

Interview timecodes:

2 mins - Adelaide Airport bar pride

3 - Survival of the company

3.30 - "The brewery won't make it" 

5 - Growing up with the brewery

5.20 - He was 9 when he had his first beer ...

7.47 Turning point for the company

8.45 Rules for the family business (no free jobs)

10 - Unpacking the hostile takeover bid

13.30 - "We didn't have the right to sell it" 

14 - "It's not about the money"

18.16 - "Don't disrespect Cooper the name"

21.20 - Only 23% of Coopers products is sold in SA now

23 - Growing the Coopers brand

23.55 - Coopers greatest ads

24.40 - Beating Heineken at Australian Open 

25.40 - V8s

27.20 - What is a sponsorship fit?

28.30 - Measuring success.

30.10 - Small can compete with big. Big doesn't always do it right 

31 - Craft beer has grown the pie

31.20 - Trendy places say we're too big for craft, "we started craft!"

32.08 - International, Asian expansion 

34.30 - Biggest in the world for home brew equipment

35 - Belted by hoteliers for pursuing home brew .. but it saved the brewery 

35.40 - Brew Art "exclusive"

36.55 - The most interesting Coopers. 

37.20 - Shooting guns in the cellar while having a few beers.

38.30 - "We're going to murder you" - West End

39.35 Concerns about home brands

42.10 The journey as a Cooper, fun but not easy 

43 The old lady who loves Coopers who had to be cut off at the pub

44.15 There's a minority of people who cause problems on alcohol

44.40 Responsibility (the Coopers Foundation)

45.30 "I don't feel any guilt about making alcohol" 

48.20 Never give up your family values and build a culture

48.55 Don't give your kids an easy job, no safety net

52 Basket Press wine

52.20 Not knowing you're talking to a Cooper 

54.25 You get caught out if you tell fibs in business

56.15 Frustrations that we as Australians are risk averse

Find out more about Coopers here.

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