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US: Bulmers take on Sleeman brands in US

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The US arm of cider producer, HP Bulmer, is to take over the distribution of Canadian brewer Sleeman's Premium Lager and Honey Brown Lager brands in five US states. Bulmer's US operation distributes its own cider brands throughout the US, while Sleeman distributes Bulmer brands in Canada.

The deal with Bulmer covers states in the northeast. Sleeman's existing tie-up with Boston Beer Co. in New England will be unaffected. This is also a reciprocal deal with Sleeman distributing Boston Beer Co. products in Canada.

Meanwhile, Sleeman CEO John Sleeman has said that he is confident the company can increase its net profits by up to 15% each year until 2005. "We are well positioned to meet these targets," Sleeman told the company's shareholders. He said the company would achieve this by increasing sales of their own products while brewing and distributing products from other beer companies.

He also said the company planned to cut costs and reduce debt which currently stands at $80.3m. The company recently sold its distribution and marketing rights to Beck's in Canada but is in negotiations with a number of international companies for similar deals.

Sleeman, Canada's third largest brewing force, posted flat first-quarter profits of $2m, earlier in the week, on sales 4% higher at $28.1m.


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