Asahi Breweries has bought Mountain Goat, the craft brewery founded in the back streets of Richmond in 1997. It joins a portfolio of brands including Schweppes, Nikka Whisky and Woodstock.

In April 2013, Asahi bought The Cricketers Arms, and has been brewing and packaging Mountain Goat’s most popular beers in Laverton for the past three years (the Richmond site is used for brewing more limited releases).

It’s a dramatic turn for a company founded by two friends who were originally home-brewers. “Back then we knew that Australian beer lovers deserved more than just bland, yellow fizzy lager, but it was so difficult to find,” co-founder of Mountain Goat, Dave Bonighton said in an announcement on the Mountain Goat website last week. “It’s the very reason we started the brewery.”

He and Cam Hines did so with three surfboards, two mountain bikes and an old EH Holden as collateral. Up until just three years ago, the pair weren’t interested in selling the company.

We contacted the men to find out what changed their minds, but they declined to speak to the media at this stage. What we do know is that they will stay on to manage the business.

“We want to ensure focus remains on the beer: on its quality of course, but also to continue to innovate and collaborate with other passionate members of the craft beer community,” Bonighton says. “This was a key aspect of the sale for both sides.”

It’s great to see the recognition of the duo’s hard work and success. Mountain Goat will continue to operate as a stand-alone business. The brewers will continue to make the beer in Richmond, and the bar will remain open Wednesday and Friday nights as usual.