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.
Australia, Brewing, Family firms, Heritage, Innovation