Coors Brewing Company (NYSE: RKY) today announced that the company has signed a letter of intent with Montreal, Canada-based brewer Molson Inc. to form a joint venture to import, market, sell and distribute Molson's brands of beer in the U.S. Coors also has reached agreements in principle with Molson on a contract brewing arrangement and amendments to their existing Coors Canada partnership.

Subject to the negotiation of a definitive agreement, Coors and Molson expect to finalize the joint venture agreement on or before Dec. 31, 2000.

Peter H. Coors, chairman of Coors Brewing Company, said, "This proposed joint venture between Coors and Molson represents an excellent opportunity for Coors to broaden its portfolio of premium beers. It is a natural fit with our strategy of focusing on high growth, high-margin segments and selectively pursuing strategic partnerships. Molson has a distinguished brewing heritage and great brands in North America, and we intend to grow these brands aggressively in the U.S. market through our brand-building and sales capabilities. This expanded relationship builds on the success that Coors and Molson have achieved with the Coors Light brand in Canada."

Under the proposed agreement, the joint venture will obtain the exclusive rights to Molson brands currently sold in the U.S. including Molson Canadian, Molson Golden and Molson Ice, as well as future Molson brands that may be developed for export to U.S. markets. Under the agreement, all of these products will be brewed and packaged by Molson in Canada for import by the joint venture to the U.S. market. Coors will pay Molson approximately $65 million and will have a 49.9 percent interest in the proposed U.S. joint venture.

In addition, Coors and Molson have agreed in principle to a brewing and packaging arrangement, whereby Coors will be able to access some of Molson's available production capacity in Canada to meet a portion of the growing U.S. demand for Coors products, most likely starting with Keystone Light. The Molson capacity available to Coors under this agreement is expected to reach an annual contract brewing rate of up to 700,000 barrels over the next few years. The agreement is not expected to alter Coors Brewing Company's near- term capacity expansion plans.

Coors and Molson also have agreed in principle to amend the terms of their existing Coors Canada partnership, which markets and sells Coors products in Canada. The proposed amendment, which is anticipated to become effective on or before Dec. 31, 2000, will change the terms of the partnership to extend the length of the contract and to add performance guarantees to Coors.

Founded in 1873, Coors Brewing Company is the third-largest U.S. brewer and sells its products in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Coors uses only the finest ingredients available in an all-natural brewing process to offer a wide range of high-quality malt beverages. The company's stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RKY.For more information on Coors Brewing Company, visit the company's Web site at