In its 160th year, Coopers Brewery has announced it will invest $50 million in the construction of a new visitor centre, micro-brewery and whisky distillery at its Regency Park site. Pending council approval building is expected to begin around the middle of this year and Coopers hope it will be completed in time to welcome its first visitors by Christmas 2023.

Coopers said the “world class” visitor centre will embody its past, present and future with domestic and international tourists front of mind. They added that the new 3,200 litre micro-brewery “will be prominently displayed and will allow their brewing team to develop more craft-style beers to supplement its current portfolio”.

Other than the new brewery, the expansion will include a whisky distillery with underground stillage for whisky maturation, a new restaurant and bar, outdoor plaza dining, dedicated tasting room and an interactive history display.

This latest announcement follows the news in November last year that Coopers would spend $15 million on a 5,500-square-metre expansion to its warehousing facilities at Regency Park.

Louise Cooper and Tim Cooper. Photo: John Krüger

Coopers managing director Dr Tim Cooper said this announcement brings total investment at Regency Park to nearly $400 million since 1999.

“This is an ambitious project which will showcase Australian beer to the world,” he said. “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.

“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.”

Adjacent to the micro-brewery will be the whisky distillery comprising a 9,600 litre wash still and a 5,500 litre spirit still. Wash for the wash still will be supplied by the micro-brewery, with the initial objective of producing 200,000 bottles per year.

“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 added. “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 said the curved design of the new two-storey development has been inspired by their label rondel and the curved structures encompass a sloping amphitheatre which will showcase the brewery grounds and maltings.

A tree-lined promenade will extend from a new entry from Regency Road to bring visitors to the new facility which will be surrounded by extensive natural landscaping. A window-lined bridge will link the new development to the existing brewery building and will feature a 300-square-metre interactive history display.

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