CZECH/US: Budejovicky Budvar drops Anheuser-Busch InBev in US

By | 3 July 2012

Budejovicky Budvar will switch US distributor at the end of this week

Budejovicky Budvar will switch US distributor at the end of this week

Budejovicky Budvar is set to drop Anheuser-Busch InBev as the US distributor of Czechvar, the name given to its flagship Budvar lager brand in the country.

The Czech company, which has been in a long-running legal tussle with A-B InBev over the Budweiser trademark, selected Anheuser-Busch to import and sell Czechvar in the US back in 2007. However, Budvar said earlier today (3 July) that it will switch the brand to Connecticut-based United States Beverage from the end of this week.

According to Budvar, in 2011, Czechvar only achieved 30% of the target for sales volumes in the US agreed between the two companies.

“Regrettably, our partner did not fundamentally meet the business targets that should have been achieved under the contract,” said Budvar's sales manager for North America, Vlasta Kociánová.

“Having not accomplished the sales volume, the company seriously breached the contract, which in January 2012 resulted in our decision to terminate our partnership with A-B InBev.

“This week, the six-month notice period elapses and as of 7 July, the distribution of Czechvar in the US will be taken over by our new importer.”

Budvar pointed to InBev's purchase of Anheuser-Busch in 2008 as the signal for a change in strategy for the US brewer in its home market.

“Following a change in the owner,” Budvar said, “the business concept of the company changed, resulting in the decline of interest in bringing imported brands to the US, as A-B InBev obtained a wide brand portfolio from the original InBev group for North America.”

United States Beverage's distribution portfolio includes Tiger Beer from Singapore and several brands from Grupo Damm, including Estrella Damm and Daura. “We anticipate selling around 9,000 hectolitres of Czechvar in the US,” concluded Kociánová.

Czechvar is the name Budvar uses for its namesake brand in the US to circumvent the trademark row between the two in the country.

Expert analysis

2011 The U.S. Beer Market

This "value set" report combines Beer in the U.S., Imported Beer and Specialty Beer and Microbrewery Markets to create the most exhaustive study of the U.S. beer market available. It scrutinizes every angle, covering state and regional markets, distribution channels, brewers and brands, imports, exports, packaging, pricing, advertising, demographics and projections. It also provides in-depth examination of the mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures reshaping the industry.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Budvar, InBev

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