‘Deeply sorry’ Coopers family throws support behind marriage equality, scraps ‘Bible beer’

Natasha Christian

The Coopers family has apologised for the controversy surrounding its special release 'Bible beer', saying it will scrap the idea, while offering support for marriage equality.

Australia's largest independent brewery has distanced itself and the Bible Society's "debate" video, after popular bars and clubs announced they would boycott Coopers.

The brand features in the gay marriage debate video, titled “Keeping it Light”, a political marketing stunt released on Friday, which has seen incredible backlash since it was uploaded.

On Tuesday night the brewery's managing director, Dr Tim Cooper, and its financial and corporate affairs director Melanie Cooper, appeared in a video to say they were "incredibly saddened" their beer had been tarnished as a result of the video.

“As a longstanding philanthropic company, Coopers Brewery has been passionate about supporting all aspects of our community, and has actively and financially embraced many different organisations," Dr Cooper said.

“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.

"Coopers 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’.”

Ms Cooper said the brewing family was "deeply sorry" for their involvement in Bible Society video, adding the company supported marriage equality and it would scrap the release of the commemorative cans.

“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," she said.

The family-managed brewer had teamed up with Bible Society Australia, also releasing a commemorative light beer to celebrate 200 years of charitable work done by their long-term donation recipient.

The video at the centre of the controversy features Liberal MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie.

Stills from the video at the centre of the controversy.

The campaign stated the pair were able to enjoy the “agree to disagree” debate because there was both a “bible and good beer on the table”.

But the debate extended to social media fans of the beer, many of which did not take kindly to the cringe-worthy stunt.

L: The beer featured in the video R: Sircuit General Manager Chris throwing out Coopers in response.

“Terrible marketing… bible verses??? Really???” Sheree Goldsworthy wrote on their Facebook page.

“See you later Coopers, never again #boycottcoopers,” Lisa Kaine wrote.

“Not a fan of the new promotional coasters you’re using. Any chanced you could try something less homophobic and sexist?” Beau Raymond wrote, with a Coopers sitting on a bible.

However some did come forward to support the brand.

Pubs and clubs have removed Coopers from sale. Photo: Facebook.

“My family has always loved Coopers Beers & we will continue to purchase shiploads (sic) of your beer,” Stipo Blazevic wrote.

Iconic Sydney and Melbourne pubs quickly caught on to the fury though, with Newtown Hotel, Enmore’s Hideaway Bar and Fitzroy’s Old Bar all announcing they would no longer be serving the beer.

The Union Hotel in Newtown said they would donate the sale of their last 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 wrote on Facebook.

SBS The Feed also posted a parody of the ad on social media.

In a statement released responding to the controversy, Coopers said they “aren’t trying to push a religious message.”

Coopers statement to fans after the backlash.

“We respect the beliefs of our community and do not wish to try and change them,” the statement read.