Anheuser links with Courage


Another chapter was opened yesterdayin the long history of The Stag brewery at Mortlake, west London, as the American Anheuser-Busch, the world's largest brewer, formed a joint venture with Courage.

The site, which started producing ale when Henry VII was on the throne in 1487, will consolidate Anheuser's position in Britain and help it push into Europe with its best-selling Budweiser, the premium lager promoted as the "king of beers".

Courage, which is owned by Foster's Brewing of Australia and may soon become controlled by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries, has brewed Budweiser on the site since 1986 and packaged the beer at its brewery in Reading. Yesterday's deal will consolidate the brewing and packaging of Budweiser at the 11-acre Mortlake site, which has the capacity to produce 288 million pints of beer a year.

The deal holds two distinct and important implications for the brewing industry. It helps clear the way for S&N to buy Courage - an announcement is expected soon - and provides a solid platform for Anheuser, based in St Louis, Missouri, to stamp the Budweiser name indelibly on the map of Europe.

From almost nowhere in 1986, Budweiser recently displaced Holsten Pils as the biggest-selling premium packaged lager in Britain. Its share of the sector is13.8 per cent, equal to almost 1.4 per cent of the total annual beer market of 10.4 billion pints in the UK.

Anheuser has the power of veto over the sale of its partner's stake in the joint venture, to be called The Stag Brewing Company, should Courage be taken over.In the meantime, Courage will pocket an undisclosed amount of rent on a 10-year lease that can be renewed from the joint venture company.

Anheuser-Busch European Trade, a subsidiary of the American company, will hold the balance of power in the venture's boardroom, with three seats against Courage's two.

The Courage representatives are Andrew Mallett,finance director, and Chris Pavlosky, director of operations. Anheuser's team will be headed by Christopher Stainow, managing director of Anheuser-Busch European Trade.

Anheuser was scant on the detail about its plans for growing sales of Budweiser, and did not say whether Mortlake would brew other brands in its portfolio such as Budweiser Dry, Budweiser Light and Michelob.

"Budweiser is now the fastest-growing brand in its category, and we are committed to supporting that growth over the long term. The joint venture will assure us access to an established brewing infrastructure in which we can invest capital to support further development of the brand," the company said.

Premium packaged lagers, which are high-strength and generate high profit margins, reallycame of age in the UK in the 1980s, led by Becks, brewed only in Germany.

Many brands have come and gone, but somesuch as Grolsch, Sol,Stella Artois and Foster's Ice have done well.

Carving out a larger slice of European markets, however, will be more difficult for Anheuser because of its century-old and litigious trademark dispute with Budejovicky Budvar, the Czech Republic's most famous brewing company, over rights to the Budweiser name.

The dispute began in the 1880s when Adolphus Busch, a US citizen of German extraction, called his beer Budweiser.

Britain is one of few countrieswhere both Budweiser beers can be sold. The wrangle has kept Anheuser out of Germany, which has the second-highest per-capita consumption in the world after the Czech Republic.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Guru Careers: Management Accountant

£27 - 35k + Bonus + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Management Accountant is needed ...

Guru Careers: Project Manager / Business Analyst

£40-50k + Benefits.: Guru Careers: A Project Manager / Business Analyst is nee...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power