The video that sparked a nationwide backlash against Coopers beer.

If you haven’t recently left Facebook, or you’ve been living without an internet connection of late, you may have noticed that Coopers — one of Australia’s most loved breweries — is copping a lot of heat right now.

So you might be wondering: where did it all begin, and why are pubs and bars around the country now boycotting the 154-year-old company?

The controversy began for the South Australian brewery on Friday, when the Bible Society of Australia released a seven-minute-long video showing Liberal MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie sipping on a couple of Coopers Premium Lights while discussing marriage equality in Australia.

people boycotting coopers
Wilson, Andrews and Hastie. Source: The Bible Society of Australia.

Wilson, a gay, non-religious Victorian MP, is pro-marriage equality. Hastie, a heterosexual Christan MP from WA, is anti-same sex marriage.

Titled 'Keeping it light', the video was filmed in celebration of the Bible Society's 200th anniversary, with the message of the debate being it's okay for people to agree to disagree on the topic of marriage equality and those who do not support equality (i.e. the Bible Society of Australia and Hastie) deserve to have their views respected.

The video comes across as a blatant ad campaign for Coopers beer and the Bible Society of Australia and, in turn, an anti-same-sex marriage stance.

Listen: Cath Pope discusses the need for marriage equality on Fighting for Fair. (Post continues after audio.)


Unsurprisingly, many Coopers consumers have taken issue with the video due to the stance, and have wasted no time in saying so via social media.

"Well, what an eye-opener," one Facebook user wrote. "Will not be drinking your beer as it's starting to taste Bitter! And hateful."

Another commented, "Bye! Your intolerance has no place in a modern society. You reap what you sow," while another former fan of the brewery said, "How dare you push religion on to something so partisan, something to be enjoyed."

Responding to the initial backlash, Coopers released a brief statement that said it supported the "light-hearted but balanced debate about an important topic within Australia" tackled in the video.

Coopers is now in damage control.

"As a mature community it's a debate we need to have but in a good spirited and good natured way," the statement continued.

But by the end of the weekend, the boycotting of Coopers -- a company that has donated over $80,000 to the Liberal Party in recent years -- had grown dramatically in size, with former drinkers posting video footage of themselves pouring bottles of Coopers beers out, and a number of businesses in Sydney and Melbourne also announcing their plans to stop selling Coopers at their establishments.

"Unfortunately we will no longer be purchasing any stock from Coopers," Melbourne's Old Bar wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.


"It's a sad day for us as over the many years we have built a strong relationship, yet after recent events it is very obvious that our values are at odds."

Posting a video of himself throwing out bottles of Coopers pale ale, the manager of Melbourne venues Sircuit Bar and Mollies Bar & Diner said, "Sircuit and Mollies, like beer companies, have choices. I have made mine."

Now in damage control mode, Coopers has since released another statement, claiming it did not sponsor the video in any way or give their permission for their beer to be used in the video.

people boycotting coopers
Coopers say it did not pay for the Bible Society of Australia's truly bizarre video, which featured their beer heavily. Source: The Bible Society of Australia.

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

"Our family brewery is made up of individuals from a number of different backgrounds, all of whom hold differing views on politics and religion, which we think is reflective of the wider community.

"We would like all Coopers fans to know that we support and embrace all of our beer drinking community," the statement concluded.

Now, though, it looks like the respectful debate has ended not with the vitriolic hate the Bible Society predicted, but rather with people closing their wallets and simply walking away.