Scottish & Newcastle is to start brewing Baltika in the UK.

The company, which jointly owns Baltika with Carlsberg through Baltic Beverages Holding, said yesterday (12 April) that it has signed a license agreement to brew the Baltika No.3 Classicheskoye beer brand in the UK. The agreement is valid until the end of 2021.

Beginning next month, Baltika No.3, Russia's number one beer brand, will be produced and filled in 0.33-litre glass bottles at S&N's Camerons Brewery in Hartlepool in the UK. The brand, which is already on limited availability in the UK, will see its distribution increased from 500 on-trade outlets currently to around 2,800 by the end of this year. At the same time, off-trade distribution will be developed, the company says, to include around 1,500 retail outlets.

"The start of licensed production in Western Europe of Baltika, one of Russia's most popular brands, is a natural step in the process of integrating Russia into the world economy," said Anton Artemiev, the president of Baltika Breweries.

The two companies are hoping to sell in the region of 1m litres of Baltika No.3 in the UK this year.

Regular shipments of Baltika beer to the UK began in 2003.