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    Miller Brewing to Import Grolsch

    Current importer, Anheuser-Busch, to terminate its importing rights for the brand in the U.S.

    ST. LOUIS -- Anheuser-Busch Inc. (A-B) signed a letter of intent to terminate its U.S. importing rights to the Grolsch beer brands, and Miller Brewing Co. will become the importer of the brands, A-B stated.

    Since April 2006, Grolsch was being imported by A-B under an agreement with brand owner Royal Grolsch NV. In February 2008, SABMiller plc, parent company of Miller Brewing, completed its acquisition of Royal Grolsch NV and the Grolsch brands.

    "Since the time we began importing Grolsch, Anheuser-Busch has expanded its portfolio to include a full range of other high-end imports such as Stella Artois, Beck's and Bass Pale Ale, as well as craft-style beers and non-alcohol beverages," David A. Peacock, vice president of marketing for A-B, said in a statement. "Together with our best-selling American brands, including Budweiser, Bud Light and the Michelob family, we now offer the country's most comprehensive line-up of products, and are well positioned in today's changing beverage marketplace."

    The deal announced today, which is expected to close by Aug. 1, will provide enhanced protections for A-B equity wholesalers, the company stated. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    "The time is right to end our importation of these brands," he said. "It is important that our wholesalers who transition these brands are able to protect their investments. This agreement includes provisions for our distributors that will compensate them appropriately."

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