Carlton & United Breweries buys popular craft brewer Balter

Australia's biggest brewer Carlton & United Breweries has bought the Gold Coast-based craft beermaker Balter founded by surfing champion Mick Fanning for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, announced on Thursday morning, is the latest acquisition by major breweries of a craft brewing business.

Surfing champion Mick Fanning and his business partners have sold their Gold Coast brewery Balter to CUB.

It also follows CUB's decision unveiled just two months ago to establish a boutique brewery in Victoria's Yarra Valley with Phil Sexton, a man considered one of the founding fathers of craft brewing in this country.

Balter was founded as recently as 2016 by Mr Fanning, fellow professional surfer Joel Parkinson and a group of their friends. It has grown quickly in the period since, received national beer awards and won a following in Queensland and interstate.

CUB confirmed that Balter's management team would remain in place. CUB boss Peter Filipovic said this meant that Balter would retain its identity and the attributes that have contributed to its success.

"From day one we've tried to not only brew the most delicious beer but
create a brand that was fun and inclusive - something the Aussie public would be proud to call its own. We're stoked Balter has connected so well with Aussies and we can't wait to continue our journey with CUB and get good beer into the hands of more beer lovers," Mr Fanning said.

Co-founder and Balter chief executive Ant Macdonald said the founders were proud of the growth the business had achieved and could see the benefits of joining CUB.

"This deal will help us achieve our sustainability goals, upgrade capacity and hospitality at our Gold Coast brewery and create new jobs.

"We refused to compromise on our culture or our beer as part of this deal. It's a testament to CUB that they didn't want us to," he said.

Mr Filipovic said Balter had quickly built a brand that appealed to beer lovers and become an industry leader.

"We will help manage Balter's strong growth through our willingness to invest, our world-class beer expertise and our customer relationships," he said.

"The deal also means we're expanding our presence in Queensland, where we already have a significant economic footprint with our Yatala brewery employing more than 250 people," Mr Filipovic said.

The move shows the continued strength of craft beers in the Australian market, with the segment's market share estimated by industry experts at about five per cent. In recent years craft beers have taken market share from mainstream, traditional beers.

The purchase also continues the evolution of the wider Australian beer sector, and comes as Australian regulators consider the $16 billion bid for CUB by Japanese beer giant Asahi.


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