Cadbury Schweppes is close to re-licensing its 7 Up brand in the US after it was announced that it was to be dropped from the distribution system of Pepsi Bottling group in June.

Cadbury Schweppes will license its 7 Up lemon-lime soft drink brand to independent bottlers and distributors in various parts of the US.

In a press release, Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc, the US soft drink arm of Cadbury Schweppes, said most of the new agreements will take effect from the beginning of 2003.

The agreements also will expand 7 Up into territories for some Pepsi bottlers retaining the brand.

Under the arrangements the new 7 UP bottlers will also begin distribution of the new dnL product - a flipped version of 7 UP, green in color, with caffeine and a blast of fruit flavors - which was introduced across a majority of US markets last month. The rest of the US will get dnL in January, when newly licensed 7 UP bottlers begin distributing the brand.