Molson Coors is to bring its Northern Ireland beer sales and marketing operations in-house, thereby exiting its deal with C&C Group.

The North America-based brewer will establish an office in Northern Ireland's capital, Belfast, and create 14 extra jobs as part of a multi-million pound investment, Molson Coors said today (11 March).

The move comes three months after the company opened an office in Dublin, in the neighbouring Republic of Ireland.

From next week, Molson Coors will operate on its own in the country, bringing its partnership with C&C Group there to an end.

"The past year has been hugely successful for our flagship brand Coors Light, which is Northern Ireland’s fastest growing bottled beer, and Carling which has exceeded all initial sales targets," said Niall McMullan, head of sales for Molson Coors in Northern Ireland.

"The growth of these brands has now taken us to the stage where we feel a hands-on approach is required," said McMullan.

"We will be looking at bringing new products into the market," he added. Molson Coors' beers already constitute around 20% of beer market volumes across the UK.

A spokesperson for Molson Coors UK told just-drinks that C&C Group previously handled the company's beers in Northern Ireland. C&C, which sells Bulmers cider in Ireland and Magners in the UK, recently acquired the brewing assets of Anheuser-Busch InBev in both Northerhn Ireland and the Republic.