US: Wholesale deal adds weight to Rolling Rock rumours

By | 8 May 2006

A Pennsylvania wholesaler that handles Anheuser-Busch products has reportedly bought the rights to Rolling Rock stable.

The deal adds to the speculation surrounding the Budweiser brewer's supposed interest in the portfolio.

According to local reports over the weekend, Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale had secured a tentative agreement with Barkley Distributing, which currently owns wholesaling rights in the Latrobe area of Pennsylvania for Rolling Rock. Fuhrer owns the A-B distribution rights in six counties in the region.

Geano Agostino, Barkley's owner, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he was selling his Rolling Rock wholesaling rights to Fuhrer, adding that Fuhrer is also set to buy his rights to distribute Labatt. Both deals must be approved by InBev.

InBev USA is mulling the sale of the Latrobe Brewing Co., the brewer of brands including Rolling Rock to focus on its "high-profit specialty import brands", including Stella Artois, Beck's and Leffe.

Reports in Belgium have cited an analyst at UBS who claimed A-B was looking at acquiring Rolling Rock. "With renewed marketing efforts, new life would be blown into the brand," UBS analyst Caroline Levy said. However, Anheuser-Busch has refused to be drawn into the speculation.

Officials at InBev USA could not be reached for comment as just-drinks went to press.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Anheuser, InBev

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