Major brewers address Balter rumours

29 November, 2019 by Andy Young

The rumour mill hit overdrive this week with claims that popular craft brewer Balter Brewing Co has been bought, TheShout contacted the major brewers to investigate – here is what we were told.

The ‘Balter is being bought’ rumour is one that has run from pretty much as soon as the team opened the brewery in March 2016. The number of awards the brewery has won since then, including Best International Pale Ale at the AIBA Awards in 2017, topping the GABS Hottest 100 in 2017 and 2018 as well as claiming Best Independent Craft Beer at the 2018 ALIAs, have simply served to fuel the rumours.

Advertisement

The credentials behind Balter is something that Peter Filipovic, CEO of Carlton & United Breweries spoke of, when TheShout asked him about whether CUB was behind the deal for Balter.

“As you know rumours have circulated for years about who might buy Balter. It is a great brand but we’re not going to comment on the rumours,” he said.

The other major source of speculation has been Asahi. The Japanese brewing giant is currently behind a $16bn bid to buy CUB, and has recently added Green Beacon to its craft portfolio.

A spokesperson for Asahi told TheShout: “I can confirm that Asahi is not purchasing Balter.”

So with Asahi saying no and CUB not commenting, TheShout contacted Lion to see whether their spending spree, which has included investing in Four Pillars and Vanguard Luxury Brands, as well as the purchase of New Belgium Brewing in the US, was about to be extended.

A spokesperson told TheShout that in Australia Lion was committed to growing its existing portfolio of craft brands.

The only other people to contact about this were obviously Balter themselves, so TheShout contacted Stirling Howland, Founder and Brand Director, who said: “We haven’t [agreed a deal]. We’ve been subject to these types of rumours from day one. It’s par for the course now and not worth commenting on.”

It’s not uncommon for companies to not comment on industry and media speculation, but it is unusual for rumours which have as much momentum as this one has, not to have any substance to them. Howland’s point that Balter has been subject to these rumours since day one is valid, so maybe ‘they’ got this one wrong.