Heineken took ownership of John Smiths when it bought Scottish & Newcastle in 2008

Heineken took ownership of John Smith's when it bought Scottish & Newcastle in 2008

Heineken has confirmed that it will end the tie-up between its John Smith's bitter brand and the Grand National horse racing meeting in the UK.

The brewer said over the weekend that next year will be the last Grand National for John Smith's, which became the lead sponsor for the meet in late-2004. The bitter, which was under Scottish & Newcastle's ownership at the time, replaced Pernod Ricard's Martell Cognac as lead sponsor.

Speaking to just-drinks, a spokesperson for Heineken said that it was “time to move on” for the brand. “After nine years, the 2013 race will be our last as title sponsor, but we are in talks to stay involved.

"John Smith’s plays a vitally important role in the Heineken portfolio and we will continue to invest in its future success," the spokesperson continued. "Racing has formed a part of the brand’s communications for many years and we will continue to be involved in the sport at other courses throughout the UK including York, Newcastle and Brighton."

The Grand National meeting, which is held at Aintree racecourse near Liverpool every April, culminates in the namesake horse race on the last day.