Anheuser-Busch has signed a US import deal with Czech arch-rival Budejovicky Budvar in a deal that will stun many in the beer industry.

The two brewers, which for decades have been locked in a dispute over the rights to the Budweiser name in markets around the world, have put their differences aside in an attempt to capitalise on booming sales of imported beer in the US.

A-B will import and sell the Czechvar brand in the US, where Budejovicky Budvar is unable to sell its flagship beer using the Budweiser trademark.

The two brewers are at pains to point out that the deal in the US will have no impact on their legal battles around the globe.

A-B president and CEO August A. Busch IV said today (8 January): "After years of differences, this is a meaningful step for two great brewers to form a relationship that is good for both of our businesses. For Anheuser-Busch, it also represents an opportunity to enhance our import portfolio with a super-premium Czech import."

Budejovicky Budvar CEO Jirí Bocek said the deal marked a "historical turning point" between the two brewers.

"We have managed to move away from discussions between lawyers and towards a practical dialogue, which is going to be beneficial to both sides," he said. "Our corporation has therefore gained the best importer in the US."