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US: United acquires Better Brands distribution

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United Distributors, Inc. will acquire the distribution rights of Better Brands of Atlanta, Inc., the 69-year-old company that is the exclusive Miller Brewing Company distributor in Atlanta.

Already one of the largest distributors of wine and spirits in Georgia, the acquisition will make Atlanta-based United, the distributor of brands including Absolut, Coors, Jack Daniels, Robert Mondavi and Bacardi, the largest beer distributor in the state.

Established in 1952, United is a privately-held company, which was founded and is still run today by the Hertz family. In addition to Georgia, United operates beer and wine facilities in Alabama and is a partner in spirits brokerages in nine other states.

Among its beer brands, United currently distributes Coors, Guinness, Becks, Bass, and Labatt. The Better Brands acquisition will add Miller, Heineken, Anchor Steam, Seagram's, Grolsch and Scottish Newcastle, as well as other domestic and imported brands to its roster.

Better Brands has been the Miller Brewing Company distributor in Atlanta for over 60 years and is owned by the Hogg family of Atlanta.

In a statement, Robert H. Hogg III, who is the grandson of the company's founder and current president of Better Brands said: "This was a tremendously emotional and difficult decision for me and the other shareholders; however, we firmly believe that United will provide the best opportunity for our people that we cherish so much and for our brands that we have built for many years."

Doug Brodman, senior vice-president, sales and distribution for Miller Brewing Company said: "Over the years, Better Brands has helped establish our brands and improve service to retailers in the Atlanta market and we wish to thank them for that. This transaction is exciting to us because we are extremely confident in United's ability to continue raising the bar and helping Atlanta's retailers make our beer business all that it should be."

The acquisition is expected to be completed by October 2004.


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