Former Nine Entertainment Co chief executive David Gyngell is a director of Balter’s parent company, documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission show.
Mr Fanning said Balter had grown so quickly through the hard work of “incredible” staff.
“Our main goal at the start was just to make good beer and, with Scotty our brewer, we’ve been doing that since day dot. And we’ve had great support from the local community and Australia-wide,” he said.
The surfers caught the right wave, with Balter’s brews rapidly becoming popular craft beers in both its home state of Queensland as well as NSW and Victoria. It is on tap in those states and elsewhere, and CUB has plans to expand its presence.
Our main goal at the start was just to make good beer, and, with Scotty our brewer, we’ve been doing that since day dot.
Mick Fanning, co-founder of Balter
The deal is the latest acquisition by a major brewer of a craft beer business, but CUB confirmed that Balter’s management team would remain in place.
CUB boss Peter Filipovic said this meant Balter would retain its identity and the attributes that have contributed to its success.
Asked why CUB wanted to buy the award-winning craft brewer, Mr Filipovic said: “Six words, three phrases. Great beer, great people, great culture.”
He said the quality of Balter beer was “exceptional”, and so was the brewer’s leadership.
“Ant [Macdonald] runs a really good business here on behalf of the Balter guys. And for them to expand so rapidly in about a three-year period, with such robust plans for future growth, really attracted CUB,” he said.
“They are not doing too much wrong, as you could imagine. What we can do is give the Balter business the national scale, footprint, great customer relationships, as well as sharing brewing expertise both locally and internationally, for Balter to be able to realise their ambitions even earlier than what they would have been able to do as a standalone operation,” he said.
“We’ll take Balter to all of Australia over the next year, we’ll expand the Currumbin Brewery, to enable them to produce 20 million litres,” he said.
Co-founder and Balter chief executive Ant Macdonald said the founders were proud of the growth achieved and could see the benefits of joining CUB.
“A big part of this is really up-scaling our on-premises distribution, through our partnership with CUB, through all their pubs, clubs and venues. Which is really exciting for us, to get our beer into more peoples’ hands,” he said.
“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.
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.
The purchase 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.
Darren is the mining and agribusiness reporter for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.