The Foster's Brewing Company can trace its roots back to 1888 when Ralph and William Foster began selling chilled beer in the state of Victoria in Australia. The heat in Australia was such that the drink quickly caught on. The company thrived until the turn of the century when economic recession meant that the best course of action was to amalgamate Foster's with several other Australian beer firms to establish the Carlton and United Breweries in 1905. This became a public company in 1913 and expanded gradually in Australia until the 1960s when the firm began to look to the international scene. In 1981 Foster's began to use little-known actor Paul Hogan in its advertising campaigns and as expansion began the company was taken over in 1983 by another Australian group, Elders IXL. Elders went on a buying spree in the 1980s acquiring Britain's Courage Brewery 1986 and Canada's Carling the following year. In 1990 the company changed its name to the Foster's Brewing Group Ltd and continued expansion with the acquisition of the brewing interests of Grand Metropolitan and ventures into the vast Chinese beer market. The company enjoyed 60% growth in its international sales between 1994 and 2000 but in 1996 decided to move into wine and bought the Mildara Blass company, one of Australia's top wineries. Foster's then began to sell off some of its beer investments and diversified into hotels and boosted the wine trade in 2000 by buying US wine company Beringer. Since then the firm has expanded further with more wine acquisitions in New Zealand and a move into the cider industry. It has changed its name back to Carlton and United Breweries although Foster's remains a major beer brand around the world.

Foster's has been involved in Formula 1 in 1986 when it first supported the Australian GP in Adelaide. That association lasted until 1993. The company was the title sponsor of the British and Belgian GPs in the 1990s and returned to sponsor the Australian GP in 2002. Foster's has "pouring rights" at 12 Formula 1 events and takes Paddock Club sponsorship at 16 of them, a deal which it recently confirmed for a decade ahead.