Award-Winning Balter Brewing Company Has Been Snapped Up by Beer Behemoth CUB

The Gold Coast brewery will no longer be independent as it is acquired by Carlton & United Breweries.
Marissa Ciampi
Published on December 05, 2019

Today, the award-winning Balter Brewing Company became the latest in the ever-growing line of independently owned Aussie breweries that've been snatched up by the big guys. The Queensland brewery released this statement on its website today, announcing that it had been bought by mega company Carlton & United Breweries (CUB).

The multibillion-dollar company already owns the likes of Budweiser, Corona, VB, Stellar Artois and (of course) Carlton Draught — and it has already snatched up some other local craft heroes, including Pirate Life and 4 Pines. CUB is currently owned by the even larger Belgium-based beer corp AB InBev, but that might soon change if a proposed $16 billion acquisition by Asahi goes ahead.

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G’day to our Balter community… today is a massive day. We’re rapt to say we’ve just finalised a deal to become a part of the Carlton & United Breweries family. ⁣ ⁣ The sale means a lot of things (and doesn’t mean some others), so we wanted you to hear it straight from the brewer’s mouth. ⁣ ⁣ Firstly, the beer will stay the same. Scotty will remain head brewer, in charge of every drop that makes its way into your mouths. The rest of the staff - from brew team, to marketing, to warehouse legends, to the entire gang who run the show, are all staying too. It’s business as usual, but with undoubtable backing, access to over a century of brewing knowledge and even more availability for you guys. ⁣ ⁣ We’ve always believed that good beer is for everybody and this is a great way to continue that mission of sharing ‘good beer, with enjoyment’. It also means we’ll be able to manage the epic growth we’ve experienced since day one, in a way that won’t affect the quality of the beer, or sanity of the people in the business. ⁣ ⁣ Some of you may or may not know that when we started Balter it was backed by our family and friends. They believed in us when we were just an idea on a piece of paper and supported us with more than just words. It’s with great pride (and relief) to stand before all 46 families today and say we didn’t stuff it up. We can now repay their faith in our dream with more than the odd free box of XPA in their fridges. ⁣ ⁣ To those who are worried that the beer you’ve come to love will change somehow - we hear you. Change always comes with uncertainty. All we can say is we’re determined to not let that happen. ⁣ ⁣ If the same crew, same ingredients, same work ethic, same values and same sense of fun going into Balter doesn’t set you at ease, simply try one of our beers in a month’s time. The proof will be in the tin. Always has been, always will be. ⁣ ⁣ Thanks for being a part of the journey so far.⁣ ⁣ From the founding mates,⁣ Ant, Stirls, Aza, Scotty, Mick, Bede, Parko, Kerrzy & Sean 🍻

A post shared by Balter Brewing Company (@balterbrewers) on Dec 4, 2019 at 2:06pm PST

Craft brewers have been slated by beer aficionados for 'selling out' to big producers in recent years, and comments on Balter's Facebook post show some fans' disappointment and concern about maintaining the quality of the beer.

But, over at Balter, the owners are promising that not much will change. Head Brewer Scotty Hargrave (ex-Stone & Wood) will stay on in his role and, in the statement — which directly addresses the sell-out mentality — the team has reassured customers that "the beer will stay the same". "Yes, we've sold the business, but no we haven't sold out," the team said in a collective statement. "Tomorrow we'll still show up to work with the exact same team, with same mindset and values that have made Balter to what it is today."

The contract with CUB is meant to ensure minimal corporate interference overall, with the team saying: "The only reason we started chatting with CUB was their commitment to keep Balter largely as is. CUB have put that in writing and we'll hold them to it."

As well as the brew team, the in-house marketing, warehouse crew and owners are all staying on board, too. According to the team, the sale will help manage the brand's exponential growth, and pay back the initial investment to the 46 families who helped get Balter off the ground.

So what does the sale mean for you? Not much, initially. As to be expected with CUBs massive reach, you can expect to see a whole heap more Balter in big name venues around town, too. But, in turn, it might also mean that some independent-only bottle shops, bars and pubs may no longer stock Balter at all.

If you're worried that the quality of the beer will stay the same, the only thing you can do is wait and see — the team itself is inviting cynics to try a tinnie in a month's time and see if they can spot the difference. And if you want to only buy local, you still have plenty of independent breweries to choose from.

Balter is by no means the only craft producer to have been snapped up this year — beloved gin brand Four Pillars was acquired by another beer behemoth Lion in March, and a second Queensland favourite, Green Beacon, was bought by Asahi in August.

Published on December 05, 2019 by Marissa Ciampi
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