The Heineken beer brand is set to do battle with its rival Carlsberg on the Danish beer's home ground after Danish Brewery Group said on Tuesday it would sell the Dutch beer in Denmark.

Danish Brewery Group is the country's second largest brewer behind Carlsberg and it has signed an agreement to distribute and market Heineken's beers and soft drinks in the autumn.

The move is a result of Denmark's lifting of a ban on canned beer, which it was forced to do due to EU pressure. Although the ban had been in place for 20 years, and foreign brewers have, as a result, found it difficult to enter the market. At present foreign beer represent only 2% of the market.

Speaking yesterday Danish Brewery Group said that next year the companies plan to include bottled and draught beer.

"The cans are only the beginning. During autumn we expect to sign a deal with Heineken on all kinds of their brands," Poul Moeller, the head of Brewery Group, said.

Carlsberg is by far and away the largest brewer in Denmark with around 70% of the market. The company yesterday welcomed the arrival of the new competition saying: "It's always good to have competition."

Earlier this year the EU Commission accused Carlsberg and Heineken of steering clear of each other's home markets in violation of competition rules in the 1993-1996 period.