Canadian beer company, Sleeman Breweries Ltd, has agreed a long-term sales, marketing and distribution deal for the Grolsch lager brand in Canada with the Netherlands brewer, Royal Grolsch NV. The brand was formerly distributed by Rollick Beverage Co. of Aurora, Ontario.

In return for the rights to the brand, Sleeman is to pay Rollick C$6.96m in cash and C$2.5m in Sleeman common stock. "Grolsch is a fine complement to our other premium import brands," said Sleeman chairman and CEO, John Sleeman, "and this transaction is consistent with our strategic goal of expanding Sleeman's international beverage alcohol coverage.

Sleeman said the Grolsch contract, which took effect on July 1, will make a marginal contribution to its 2002 profit and contribute an estimated C$3m to EBITDA in 2003. The company recently ceased its distribution deal with Beck's but the Canadian company said that the anticipated profit contribution from Grolsch in 2003 would be double that which it had expected from Beck's.

Grolsch confirmed in a statement that it had agreed to allow Rollick to sell the Grolsch rights to Sleeman. "By 2006, Grolsch expects to sell around 100,000 hectolitres of Grolsch beer in Canada," the Dutch company said. Grolsch sales in Canada in 2001 stood at 40,000 hls.