US: Carlsberg, Constellation Brands cancel Somersby distribution deal
The new version of Somersby was first launched in the UK last year
Carlsberg is on the look-out for a new distributor for its Somersby cider brand in the US after “mutually” agreeing to end its relationship with current distributor Crown Imports.
The Constellation Brands-owned distributor took on the brand on a trial basis last year prior to buying out its JV partner in Crown, Grupo Modelo. “Due to Crown’s strategic priorities, both parties have agreed that Somersby requires a partner who can allocate more focus to the growing cider market,” a Carlsberg spokesperson told just-drinks today (4 October).
Constellation, which announced its half-year results yesterday, took full control of Crown Imports in June. Anheuser-Busch InBev was forced to divest the business to satisfy regulators in its US$20.1bn capture of Grupo Modelo.
A Constellation spokesperson told just-drinks: “Crown’s business model has changed significantly since the ABI/Modelo/Constellation deal, becoming far more complex since the initial agreement with Carlsberg.
“To introduce a new brand in the cider category takes considerable time, effort and focus, and Crown is focused on growing our current portfolio ... to realise our long-term goal of capturing a 20% dollar share of the overall US beer market.”
The US cider sector is still seeing significant growth, with shipments up 87% for the year-to-date to June 2013.
Carlsberg has yet to choose a new importer, the Constellation spokesperson said.
The Somerby brand was first launched in Denmark and Norway in 2008. But Carlsberg introduced a re-formulated version of the product in the UK last year.
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