Coopers’ marketing people put together the best packaging! The Artisan Reserve came in a box shaped like a book!
Disclaimer: Coopers sent me some of the new Artisan Reserve to try.
It’s been a very busy start to 2014 for South Australia’s Coopers Brewery. The family owned brewery ended 2013 having sold a whopping 72 million litres of beer, up almost 5% on 2012’s sales and a company record.
2014 will also see Coopers enter the booming cider market. The company has just signed an agreement with UK cider company, Thatchers, to keg and distribute Thatchers Gold (the second largest draught cider in the UK). Thatchers is also a family owned business and creates, in addition to its Gold, a range of single varietal and even vintage ciders. We all know that the Australian cider market is booming but unfortunately much of what is available is actually mass produced (see Max Allen’s excellent dissection of the cider market, published just before Christmas) so it’s great to see that Coopers has been able to enter the market by taking a different route.
And finally, 2014 sees the launch of Artisan Reserve. This is an unpasteurised pilsner, so it lines up well with Coopers’ bottle conditioned ales (such as Sparkling and Pale), which are also unpasteurised. I’m already a bit of a fan of the Celebration Ale so I was excited to try out this new beer.
Very generously, I shared one of my bottles with Andy, who is really the resident beer (rather than ale) expert in our household. Andy is already a fan of Coopers 62 (although he is not keen on the 355mL bottles!) and Coopers Lager is one of his ‘regular’ beers. However, his favourite beer of all is the Czech Budvar. As that’s a pilsner and Coopers has used Bavarian hops in producing the Artisan Reserve the Coopers offering was up against some stiff competition!
The verdict? Fortunately – extremely positive all round! The beer is dry, crisp and citrussy and, despite coming in at 5.5% alcohol, the beer is not dominated by the alcohol. We both thought it very similar to Czech pilsners such as Budvar and Urquell – which is high praise in this household.
The Artisan Reserve is widely available (cases of 355mL bottles retail for around $55) and you will see it in some bars on draught. During the week I spotted it at Regattas, where it was $6 for a schooner.
I know this, because I bought one!