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Heineken out, Coopers in at Australian Open

Business

South Australian-owned Coopers Brewery has muscled in on the Australian Open, winning exclusive pourage rights to the nation’s marquee tennis event for the next five years.

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The deal ends a two-decade monopoly on the event by Dutch beer giant Heineken, and means that only Coopers beer will be poured at Melbourne Park throughout the two weeks of the grand slam tournament.

It will also be served exclusively at lead-up events around the country, including Adelaide’s World Tennis Challenge next year and Perth’s Hopman Cup from 2018.

The contract – the value of which was not revealed – includes pourage rights for all other sporting and entertainment events at Melbourne Park.

But despite the secrecy surrounding the dollar figure, Coopers national sales and marketing director Cam Pearce said it was one of the largest national sporting agreements in the company’s history.

The daughter of Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, Frances Abbott (centre) with her boyfriend, Lindsay Smith during the Nick Kyrgios of Australia plays Andy Murray of Great Britian match at the Australian Open, Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. The Australian Open tennis tournament will go from the 19th of January until the 1st of February 2015 and is Australia's foremost annual tennis event. (AAP Image/Julian Smith) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

High-profile patrons will be snapped sipping SA’s iconic brew at the Open in coming years. Photo: Julian Smith / AAP

“We are very excited about our involvement in the Australian Open… one of only four grand slam events in the world and a highlight of the Australian sporting calendar,” he said.

“It’s marvellous that Coopers, the last major wholly Australian-owned family brewery, is teaming up with Tennis Australia for such an iconic event… it means Australia’s premier summer sporting event, which runs over the last two weeks of January, including Australia Day, will have a premium Australian beer associated with it.”

Coopers will serve tennis patrons its trademark Original Pale Ale as well as Premium Lager and Premium Light throughout the event – which was attended by more than 720,000 spectators this year.

Pearce said in the lead-up the brewer would undergo a rebranding exercise of the latter two “to provide a fresh, vibrant look to coincide with and support the Australian Open”.

Tennis Australia welcomed its new partner, with CEO and tournament director Craig Tiley calling the nation’s largest independent brewery “a perfect fit for the Australian summer of tennis”.

“We’re delighted to welcome Coopers, an iconic and much-loved Australian brand, to the Australian Open family,” he said.

“The Australian Open is not just about world-class tennis, it’s a fantastic social event… and Coopers is a great match for the relaxed Aussie atmosphere our fans love.”

Dr Tim Cooper, managing director and chief brewer at Coopers, said: “We believe in finding and valuing true partnerships”.

“In our experience, partners that share core values and beliefs will accomplish great things together,” he said.

“That’s why I’m personally excited about the potential of our relationship with Tennis Australia.”

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