The joint venture between Grupo Modelo and Molson Coors has begun operations this week.

The creation of Modelo Molson Imports, which will import, distribute and market Modelo's beer brands in Canada, was announced in November by the two brewers. The venture, described by the two as "long-term", began operations this week, Modelo and Molson Coors said yesterday (2 January).

The joint venture will build on the existing arrangement through which Molson has been handing Modelo in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

"We are very pleased with having created this joint venture and are certain it presents the Modelo brands with an excellent opportunity for growth in Canada, our second most important export market," said Rodrigo Testas, director of North America for Grupo Modelo.

Kevin Boyce, Molson's CEO, added: " Across the country we will be better able to serve our customers with the Modelo portfolio of brands. We are very excited to be expanding our relationship with Modelo to represent their full portfolio nationwide."

The board will consist of six directors, half from Modelo and half from Molson, including Jose Pares, vice-president of International markets for Modelo, and Dave Perkins, Molson Coors' chief strategy officer. The 50/50 joint venture will be headquartered in Toronto and led by Robert Armstrong, previously CEO for Modelo's office in Canada.