THIRSTY Ballarat drinkers have bought up more than 115,000 cans of Ballarat Bitter in just three days, with many hotels selling out of the relaunched beer.
Licensees have described sales of Ballarat Bertie as phenomenal and have literally been inundated with requests for the famous beer.
The popular beer returned to Ballarat hotels on Friday after an absence of 15 years with 24-can slabs walking out the door as quickly as they arrived.
Many stockists limited sales to a dozen cans each in a bid to satisfy demand.
Brewers Foster's delivered a limited release of 40 pallets (4800 slabs) to Ballarat outlets after a special request by the crew of HMAS Ballarat to Ballarat MHR Catherine King.
Each hotel was given an initial supply of up to 120 slabs, with many selling out as early as Saturday morning.
Irish Murphy's owner Ian Larkin was down to his last six cans yesterday and was expecting a final delivery today.
He described Ballarat Bertie as the fastest-selling beer in his 30 years in the hotel business.
"This has probably been one of the greatest initiatives in all the time I've been in hotels," he said.
"The way it went out was very sad, but he's popped his head back up and literally fell off the back off the truck.
"For a new product, the response has been amazing and everyone is out of stock.
"It's just been a great team effort and I thank the work that everyone has done."
Mr Larkin said perhaps the biggest winner was United Way. With the charity set to receive $1 per 24-can purchase, it is already guaranteed nearly $5000.
Mr Larkin said people should also hold on to their used cans as they were likely to become a collector's item.
Foster's business development executive for the western region, Malcolm Rock, said he has received inquiries from hotels in Echuca, Geelong and Horsham for the relaunched beer.
Ballarat MHR Catherine King said she hoped the second supply of Ballarat Bertie would help to satisfy demand.
"The response to Ballarat Bertie has just been amazing and it's terrific that Ballarat people have got behind it," she said.
"My only disappointment is that some people may have missed out during the initial supply and I hope the new stock will provide an opportunity for more people to sample it."