Carlsberg-Tetley and Interbrew UK today announced that they have signed a deal for Carlsberg-Tetley to supply Carlsberg to Interbrew UK. This is to enable Interbrew UK to fulfil contractual arrangements that they have with a number of leading pub retail customers.

In a separate deal, the licence for brewing the Australian lager brand, Castlemaine XXXX, will be transferred to Interbrew UK by brand owners Lion Nathan on 4 January 2003. The launch by Interbrew will be backed by a £9m promotional spend. Interbrew said details of the marketing support plans would be unveiled later in the year

The current licence holder, Carlsberg-Tetley said the deal has been reached with their full agreement. Carlsberg-Tetley will continue to supply Castlemaine XXXX to Carlsberg-Tetley’s free-trade customers and selected national accounts.

“We are obviously delighted with these developments, which are part of our strategic move to accelerate the growth of our core brands,” said Doug Clydesdale, Carlsberg-Tetley’s managing director brands & sales. “Carlsberg is up some 20% year on year and the additional volume will build upon the momentum of the recent brand re-launch and our World Cup sales successes. The fact that we will continue to supply Castlemaine XXXX to some national accounts and our free-trade customers allows us to maintain existing customer supply arrangements where appropriate.”

Interbrew UK has confirmed that it has also been awarded the UK licensing agreement for the production, marketing and distribution of Murphy’s Irish Stout by Heineken Ireland.

The UK licensing agreement for Murphy’s Irish Stout had been held by Whitbread plc since 1988 and responsibility for brewing, marketing and distribution of the UK’s No 2 stout brand will be transferred to Interbrew UK with immediate effect.

Stewart Gilliland, chief executive of Interbrew UK and Ireland, said: “The two licensing agreements for Castlemaine XXXX and Murphy’s are aligned with our strategy of developing an unrivalled portfolio of brands that have a strong consumer franchise. Both brands offer tremendous opportunities and potential for growth.

“Murphy’s, as one of only two major contenders in the stout sector, has a key role to play in developing UK stout sales. Interbrew UK is committed to ensuring that Murphy’s is given the necessary support to realise its full potential, and that the brand is at the forefront of driving and re-energising the stout category.

“With Castlemaine XXXX we have a top 10 standard lager brand which fits well within the clearly defined Interbrew UK lager portfolio, and it will enable us to offer a range of lagers which appeal to different consumer drinking occasions. Stella Artois is the leading premium lager brand in the UK, Tennent’s is the No 1 standard lager in Scotland, and Hoegaarden is the No 1 white beer. In Leffe and Staropramen we have two further brands which have the potential for significant growth.

“Castlemaine XXXX gives us a standard lager brand with strong credentials and we are confident that, moving forward, it will reap the benefits of becoming Interbrew UK’s focus brand in the standard lager sector in England & Wales. This degree of focus was not possible for Castlemaine XXXX within the Carlsberg-Tetley portfolio because of the presence of Carlsberg.”

Gordon Cairns, CEO, of Lion Nathan, added: “The licensing agreement with Interbrew UK is great news for Lion Nathan and Castlemaine XXXX. We have worked with Interbrew before in the UK and are confident that they will realise the full potential of this well loved brand. This new licensing agreement cements our relationship that already exists with Interbrew in its other markets worldwide”