Anheuser-Busch has signed a letter of intent to terminate its US importing rights to the Grolsch beer brands, it announced today. Miller Brewing Company will become the importer of the Grolsch brands.

A statement from A-B said: "The deal will provide enhanced protections for Anheuser-Busch equity wholesalers. Anheuser-Busch expects the deal to close by 1 August 2008."

Grolsch has been imported by Anheuser-Busch since April 2006 under an agreement with brand owner Royal Grolsch NV. In February 2008, SABMiller plc, parent company of Miller Brewing, completed its acquisition of Royal Grolsch NV and the Grolsch brands.

The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

"The time is right to end our importation of these brands," said David A. Peacock, vice president, marketing, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. "It is important that our wholesalers who transition these brands are able to protect their investments. This agreement includes provisions for our distributors that will compensate them appropriately."

"Since the time we began importing Grolsch, Anheuser-Busch has expanded its portfolio to include a full range of other high-end imports such as Stella Artois, Beck's and Bass Pale Ale, as well as craft-style beers and non-alcohol beverages," continued Peacock. "Together with our best-selling American brands, including Budweiser, Bud Light and the Michelob family, we now offer the country's most comprehensive line-up of products, and are well positioned in today's changing beverage marketplace."