Family-owned and operated brewing business Coopers has responded to public outrage over a Bible Society video that displaying its products, releasing a video of its own and pledging support for marriage equality.
Managing director Tim Cooper and director of finance and corporate affairs Melanie Cooper released a video statement yesterday evening, addressing the furore of the last week after a controversial promotional video for the Bible Society featured Coopers beer.
“On behalf of the Coopers Board and senior staff, we are incredibly saddened by the impact our involvement with the Bible Society has had on our valued Coopers drinkers and our extended family,” Tim Cooper said in the video response.
“Our company’s guiding principles have centred around respect for others, and, as such, the recent activity surrounding the video made by the Bible Society has conflicted with our core values.”
Stating the business “never intended light of such an important issue”, Coopers maintained the business did not approve the creation of the Bible Society’s video “debate”.
“Offense has been taken by our recent involvement, for which we are deeply sorry,” Melanie Cooper says in the video response.
The video that caused the controversy for the brewer was last Wednesday, and features two Liberal MPs discussing marriage equality whilst drinking Coopers Light beer. It was released by the Bible Society, and Coopers had partnered with the Society to release a limited run of 10,000 cases of Coopers Premium Light with Bible verses printed on the box.
However, the partnership and release of the limited run has been cancelled, and the business is stressing its support for marriage equality.
“We have consequently cancelled the release of our Bible Society commemorative cans and will be taking steps to show further support for our community, including joining Australian Marriage Equality,” Melanie Cooper said in the video statement.
Bars continue boycott regardless
A number of Melbourne and Sydney bars chose to boycott Coopers beer in light of the Bible Society video, including Fitzroy bar The Old Bar.
Speaking to SmartCompany today, The Old Bar says it “feels for them”, but will likely still discontinue its relationship with the brewer.
“There is still some underlying issues as to what got us all to this point that probably means we still won’t be able to continue our relationship,” a spokesperson from The Old Bar said.
“Other may feel differently about this and that’s great and fair.”
Another Melbourne bar that had pledged to stop stocking the beer, George’s Bar, has also continued the boycott. In a response to a customer inquiry on its Facebook page, the business said it did not want to “associate ourselves with brands that we don’t believe in”.
“Their company’s associations and aims are no longer aligned with ours. Our bar staff approached us as owners on Monday and said they weren’t comfortable stocking the product anymore and as operators we backed them on that,” the business wrote.
“Back peddling and retracting things doesn’t make the relationship unbroken.”
Response to the statement on social media has been mixed, with some supporting Coopers’ response and others criticising the business for its changing viewpoints.
“Amazing how your personal values can change when it involves the hip pocket!…Coopers Pale Ale was my preferred drink of choice, but I will never drink it, nor any other Coopers product, because my values come before the taste of a beer,” one commenter wrote.
“This should go down in Australian history as one of the greatest marketing blunders of all time. Wrong on so many levels. Laughable,” wrote another.
Watch the Coopers response below.