The Belgian beer giant Interbrew, relaunched  the Australian beer brand Castlemaine XXXX on the UK market last week, through its subsidiary there Interbrew UK. The company agreed to acquire the rights to the brand from Lion Nathan late last year. Previously XXXX was distributed by Carlsberg-Tetley in the UK.

The relaunch is accompanied by new packaging and will be supported by an advertising campaign beginning in spring.

"Interbrew UK, which took on responsibility for the brewing and marketing of Castlemaine XXXX on January 4th, is reinvigorating the brand through a redesign that will increase brand visibility in the on-trade and take home markets and force consumer re-appraisal," the company said.

The new look is part of a £9m package of marketing support during 2003 - with a theme called "the Return of the Australian Classic".

Matthew King, marketing controller for Castlemaine XXXX at Interbrew UK, says: "We believe that Castlemaine XXXX has the branded credentials to become a major player in the standard lager sector once again.

"Our objective for Castlemaine XXXX is to re-establish it as a mainstream standard lager and to ensure that both customers and consumers see the brand as a credible offering. The sector is hugely important for us as a company because it accounts for a significant share of our business."

A fuller anaylsis of Interbrew's plans for the UK lager market will be available on just-drinks in the next week.