Carlsberg has finalised deals to distribute Czech beer Budvar in Finland and Croatia.

The Danish brewing giant has been in talks with Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar to handle its flagship brand in certain European markets.

Carlsberg's Finnish arm, local drinks group Sinebrychoff, will distribute Budvar and its stablemate Budvar Premium Dark in Finland.

A Sinebrychoff spokesperson told just-drinks today (24 January) that the brand will initially go on sale in the Finnish on-trade and will be rolled out to the off-premise in April.

"These two great beers fit our House of Beers concept," the Sinebrychoff spokesperson said. The company imports some 16 beers into Finland through its House of Beers Arm, she said, which targets discerning beer drinkers in Finland.

Sinebrychoff said sales from the stable, while small, doubled last year. The company also imports brands including Guinness, Leffe and Franziskaner into Finland.

Budvar CEO Jirí Bocek said: "Our brewery is gaining an excellent business partner in Finland. Both companies will benefit from this cooperation and we believe that it will also be appreciated by the Finnish connoisseurs of imported beers."

Bocek is just as upbeat Budvar's tie-up with Carlsberg in Croatia. The market, he said, held "great business potential" for the Czech brewer, which will sell its Budvar and its stablemate Budvar Premium Dark in the Balkan country.

Carlsberg Croatia MD Jorn Pedersen added: "We are very proud to have such famous and premium brand in our portfolio. It will significantly contribute to our efforts in offering strong premium brands to Croatian consumers."