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UK: Carling beats Belhaven to Scottish Rugby deal

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Molson Coors' lager brand, Carling, has replaced Greene King's Belhaven as the official beer sponsor of Scottish Rugby.

Carling will be the official beer of Scotland's rugby team and will be served at Murrayfield Stadium on match days for the next three years, Scottish Rugby and Molson Coors UK said this week.

The move follows the breakdown of an existing one-year rolling deal between Scottish Rugby and Greene King, which brews the Belhaven Scottish beer brand.

Belhaven's managing director, Euan Venters, was quoted in the Scotsman newspaper earlier this week as saying that it walked away from the contract because Scottish Rugby's third-party caterer failed to maintain beer quality.

When contacted by just-drinks, he said: "We had a very good relationship with Scottish Rugby. The only issue we had was with the supply of the beer, but that was to do with a third party supplier, not Scottish Rugby."

He said that Belhaven is open to working with the rugby body again in the future.

Neither Venters nor Scottish Rugby were willing to comment further on the situation.

It remains unclear whether Belhaven expressed its concerns on quality to the rugby body prior to the partnership ending, although a separate source familiar with the situation claimed that Scottish Rugby were not told of quality issues with the beer.

Molson Coors and Scottish Rugby said in their announcement this week: "Carling is working closely with Scottish Rugby to ensure top quality beer is served at the stadium."

With the Six Nations rugby tournament set to begin this weekend, the deal has the potential to significantly expand sales of Carling in Scotland. Murrayfield has a capacity of almost 70,000.

Twickenham, the England team's rugby ground, has a capacity of 82,000 and Greene King, which remains the official beer partner there, said that it was selling 6,000 pints per match during last year's autumn internationals


Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Molson Coors, Greene King

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