The Belgian brewer Interbrew and Diageo have closed the transfer to Interbrew of all import and distribution rights for Bass Ale in the US.

Bass Ale accounts for more than 25% of all super-premium imported beers in the US and its inclusion in the Interbrew portfolio in the US gives the world's number three brewer operational control of seven out of the top 12 best-selling imported beers in the country.

In addition, Interbrew said it believed Bass Ale's volumes would significantly strengthen its position in the American on-trade market.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Interbrew," said John F. Brock, Interbrew's CEO. "Both Interbrew and Diageo have worked closely to make this transfer possible in a very short period of time. We are very enthusiastic about Bass® Ale and believe it will be an outstanding addition to the Interbrew USA portfolio."

Dave Eickholt, President, DIAGEO-Guinness USA Inc. (formerly Guinness Bass Import Company), said, "We are very proud to have grown Bass Ale to become one of the top 10 US imports during the past two decades. We believe that today's announcement will provide the best value for our shareholders and supports our ongoing approach of significant investment behind our total beer business."