Mick Fanning
Mick Fanning

What multimillion-dollar sale means for brewery

A QUEENSLAND craft beer company founded by pro surfers Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson is preparing to increase production after it was bought by Carlton & United Breweries in a multimillion-dollar deal.

Currumbin Waters' Balter Brewing sold to CUB yesterday, five years to the day after a group of nine childhood friends, including Fanning and Parkinson, started the brewery.

While the settlement price remains confidential, it is expected the sale will provide a multimillion-dollar windfall for the founders and more jobs at the Gold Coast brewery.

Speaking to The Courier-Mail in Brisbane, Fanning and Balter CEO Ant MacDonald said while not much would change with the beer, the sale would provide a bright future for the brewery.

"We'd love to be a nationally recognised iconic brand," Mr MacDonald said.

Balter will flow from more taps and be stocked in more fridges and stadiums from next year by using CUB's established Australia-wide network.

Fanning, Australia's three-time world surfing champion who fought off a shark in 2015, said the founders and key staff would remain involved with Balter.

"We're staying on to do what we did yesterday," he said.

"We just want to make good beer."

Balter founders Mick Fanning and Ant MacDonald share a glass with Carlton & United Breweries CEO Peter Flipovic at CUB’s Fortitude Valley HQ. Picture: Mark Cranitch
Balter founders Mick Fanning and Ant MacDonald share a glass with Carlton & United Breweries CEO Peter Flipovic at CUB’s Fortitude Valley HQ. Picture: Mark Cranitch

Fanning, who retired from the professional surfing circuit in 2018, said the sale to CUB would give guidance to the company.

"It's like a big brother taking us around the playground," he said.

Balter has experienced phenomenal growth since it launched in 2016.

It brewed four million litres of beer last year and scooped two trophies at the International Beer Awards in Melbourne this May.

CUB chief executive Peter Filipovic assured customers Balter's quality and taste would stay the same.

He said the purchase would expand CUB, an "iconic Victorian company", further into Queensland.

About 250 people work at its Yatala brewery and 60 are based at Balter on the Gold Coast.

"We'll expand the number of people as we continue to expand Balter," Mr Filipovic said.

 

Balter brewed about four megalitres of beer last year and won two International Beer Awards in May.
Balter brewed about four megalitres of beer last year and won two International Beer Awards in May.

 

CUB's takeover has drawn the ire of dedicated independent beer drinkers, who have already taken to Balter's social media to swear off the drink.

"Hopefully we can win them back," Mr MacDonald said.

"Our beer's exactly the same as it was, it hasn't changed."

Balter is the latest well-known independent beer to be snapped up by CUB, with Fortitude Valley's Green Beacon and Sydney's 4 Pines Beer added to its portfolio earlier this year.

CUB itself has been purchased by Japan's Asahi Group Holdings in a $16 billion takeover, subject to Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approval.

The ACCC is expected to announce its decision on December 12.