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Pubs boycott Coopers beer following Bible Society marriage equality marketing campaign

A number of pubs have vowed to take Coopers beer off their taps after a political marketing stunt backfired disastrously on the South Australian brewer.

Coopers teamed up with their long-time donation recipients, the Bible Society Australia, to create a video on same-sex marriage called "Keeping It Light".

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Pubs boycott Coopers 'Bible' beer

Some hotels have stopped serving Coopers beer after they produced 10,000 commemorative light beers to celebrate 200 years of the Australian Bible Society.

The family-owned and run brewer also released a commemorative light beer to celebrate 200 years of charitable work done by the Bible Society.

In the video, Liberals MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie debate same-sex marriage with the men agreeing to disagree in a "civil and respectful way".

The campaign website said the men were able to enjoy the debate because there was "both a Bible and good beer on the table".

However, the public backlash started within minutes of the video's release on Friday.


Social media users ravaged Coopers' Facebook page, promising to never drink the beer again.

The boycott soon spread to pubs with the Coopers taps being switched off in the Old Bar, Sircuit nightclub and Mollies Bar & Diner in Fitzroy, Melbourne and several Sydney pubs including the Hollywood Hotel in Surry Hills, the Newtown Hotel and Hideaway Bar in Enmore.

The Union Hotel in Newtown said they would donate money from the sale of their last remaining Coopers kegs to Beyond Blue.

"We're huge fans of the beer, but nothing short of genuine public support from Coopers for marriage equality would get us back to pouring their good stuff," they posted on Facebook.


The general manager of Sircuit Bar and Mollies Bar & Diner filmed himself throwing out their remaining bottles of Coopers.

"Sircuit and Mollies, like beer companies, have choices. I have made mine," he said.

What Coopers products that were available in Sircuit, have been removed. Actually I threw them out. Sircuit and Mollies, like beer companies, have choices. I have made mine. If Coopers wish to discuss, they have my number. Chris ( General Manager )

Posted by Chris Driscoll on Sunday, 12 March 2017

Coopers have since released two statements in an apparent back track.

The first statement backed the video while the second said they only made the commemorative beer and didn't give permission for it to feature in the "Keeping It Light" video.

"We respect the beliefs of our community and do not wish to try and change them," the second statement said.

The Hollywood Hotel in Surry Hills put a note on its Coopers tap to say it would be boycotting the beer.

The Hollywood Hotel in Surry Hills put a note on its Coopers tap to say it would be boycotting the beer. Photo: Facebook

Social commentary of the campaign has been largely critical.

"Supporting the right for Christians to have an anti-gay marriage debate, but not the right for gay marriage," wrote beer blogger, Ale Of A Time.

On Fairfax Media websites, Andrew P. Street wrote: "If Coopers chose to sponsor a political act by a religious organisation then they force their customers to make a choice."

Pop culture website Pedestrian labelled the stunt ridiculous and "wildly condescending".

"Outside of the fact that it's absolutely ridiculous to have this debate discussed by two men who are both members of a party that has stated it will take no action on marriage equality, it's absurd to suggest that the problem with the marriage equality conversation is that we're not listening enough to people who object to it on religious grounds."


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