Coopers says sorry and has canned its Bible Society beer in bid to win back drinkers

Coopers directors Melanie and Tim Cooper. Screenshot

Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept. Mark 14:72

It’s taken the South Australian brewery Coopers just three days to buckle in a backdown of Biblical proportions following social media backlash over its support for the Bible Society.

The storm in a schooner occurred after the Bible Society posted a 7-minute video featuring two Liberal MPs, Christian Andrew Hastie and agnostic gay Tim Wilson discussing same sex marriage, last week.

But the video, titled “Keeping it Light”, provoked the opposite of its intent as pubs shut down their Coopers taps and Australians vowed to never twist another top off bottles from the Adelaide brewery Thomas Cooper began in 1862.

Today the 154-year-old family-owned brewery issued a extraordinary apology, with two of the company’s directors saying the video “conflicted with our core values”.

Managing director Tim Cooper said “We are incredibly saddened by the impact our involvement with the Bible Society has had on our valued Coopers drinkers and our extended family.”

Coopers initially offered its support in “celebrating 200 years of charitable work”, saying the video is meant to be “a debate we need to have but in a good spirited and good natured way”. But as the backlash continued, yesterday the company denied offering any support or financial backing for the project.

Today the company issued a denial readers of the New Testament could compare to the travails of the Apostle Peter following the arrest of Jesus.

In their video statement Tim Cooper said the company “never intended to make light of such an important issue, and would never and did not approve the making or release of the Bible Society video ‘debate’.”

To mark 200 years in Australia, the Society wanted the video to be the first in a series of “light discussions on the heaviest topics” because “Australia’s national conversation has become fraught with shallowness and contempt for those who have a differing opinion”. Hastie, Wilson and host Matt Andrews sat at a table at Parliament House with bottles of Coopers and raised them in a toast and thanked the brewery for its support.

Conservative MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie (L & R) with host Matt Andrews toast the Bible Society. Screenshot

Coopers is a long-time supporter of the Society and the company planned to sell 10,000 cases of Premium Light beer featuring a happy birthday message to the organisation and Bible verses on the carton packaging.

Today director of corporate affairs, Melanie Cooper said the company cancelled the release of the commemorative cans and “will be taking steps to show further support for our community, including joining Australian Marriage Equality”.

“Our company supports marriage equality,” she said.

“Offence has been taken by our recent involvement, for which we are deeply sorry. We have listened to a range of community views, we acknowledge this feedback and respect everyone’s individual opinions and beliefs.

“Our company brews great beer that we are passionate about, and we warmly embrace all Australians.”

Here’s the video:

And here’s the video that seemed to tip beer drinkers over the edge:

'Keeping it light' from Bible Society Australia on Vimeo.

In the hour since Coopers posted the video on its Facebook page, around 350 people have commented with many appearing unwilling to forgive the company and others from the now side of the divide now equally annoyed, with one commentator saying “cancelling your commemorative cans is just giving in to mob rule”.

It’s enough to make you wonder what would Jesus do?

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