Balter, the King of Beers!
In business-slash-surf news, three-timer champ Mick Fanning has sold the beer label he started in 2016 with pals Bede Durbidge, Josh Kerr, Sean Ronan, Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Stirling Howland, Scott Hargraves and Ant Macdonald to Carlton United Breweries for a rumoured two-hundred mill.
Two hundred mill?
Ooowee, that’s a little a rich for a company that brewed four million litres last year, yeah?
Aren’t the press releases saying an “undisclosed amount”?
That’s the figure kicking around CUB, the iconic Australian brewer that was bought by Japan’s Asahi for $16 billion in 2016, according to an employee.
In response, I figured he meant twenty but he hit me back on a text, real quick, no, two hundred.
Two years ago, Joel Parkinson was quoted somewhere, still looking for that story, saying they wouldn’t sell for under two-hundred mill as there were 46 investors involved in getting the thing off the ground.
Still, I couldn’t bring myself to put that figure in a headline, hence “many, many millions”, which, I think, will prove to be accurate when the amount is released in a few days.
According to Radio Brew News,
“We’ve been the subject of so many buyout rumours since the very first day we started, and we’ve been sold probably 50 or so times already. It just turns out that the 51st time is actually true,” he said.
The team explained that the deal with CUB came about as a result of Balter’s exponential growth, and that its plans to grow further in the coming years required a capital injection.
“A number of factors came into play for us,” explained Howland.
“We’ve been going at a pretty crazy trajectory for a number of years now, It’s been a wonderful ride but it definitely a ride that hasn’t just been smooth sailing.
“We’ve got a hard-working engine in this business and if you rev the engine for a long period of time it can take its toll.”
He said that discussions had begun after the GABS Hottest 100 in January, when the Balter team were approached by CUB.
“We talked amongst ourselves about what it would mean.
“When you’re under the pressure that the team is, to be able to relieve that was an enticing opportunity for us.
“We’ve built this brand into something that Aussies really love and we’ve got a staff here that are the backbone and the underpinning of all that.
“We had to delve deep into what it meant for all those things and whether they’d be compromised or not.”
He said that the business was launched with the help of 46 friends and family, and along with securing the future of its staff at the business, paying their early supporters back was a key consideration in the decision making process.
“We’ve had friends and family invest in Balter since day one, when we were just an idea on paper. Without those 46 friends and family none of this would have got off the ground the way it has.
“For some of them, it was their life savings which was pretty nerve wracking for us.
“For us to be able to sit here today and be able to say we didn’t mess it up, it’s a pretty good feeling.”
When it comes to staff, Balter’s sales team will remain in place and its more than 60 existing staff have their jobs secured when it comes to the deal, said the team.
Macdonald said that the deal needed to be a “win-win” for everyone.
“We’ve been contacted for years from all multinationals and other independents and we never really entertained it,” he said.
“Nothing ever ticked all the boxes from an investor and employee perspective.
“A lot of people think the boys chipped in millions to start with but that didn’t happen, we’re the same as any other business.
“It takes a lot of money to continue to run a business at this pace, sometimes you’ve got to step back and really understand the risk, and we’ve taken a lot of risk on this business,” Macdonald explained.
He said that the deal with CUB was about futureproofing the business.
“The partnership we’ve formed with CUB [allows us to hold onto] our integrity.
“We talk a lot about de-risking the business, that’s a really important thing moving forward.
“There’s a lot of saturation in the market at the moment, there’s a lot of micro and macro economic pressures on the economy, our forecast for the next two years weren’t as buoyant as they were a year ago.
“If we can achieve all our goals as senior management, still brew the beer here, execute the brand we want and be able to pay back our family and friends and protect our staff it’s a win-win for everyone and we’re excited to grow Balter further in the future.”