World Cup beer nipped in Bud

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The Independent Online

Anheuser-Busch, the US giant behind the World Cup's official beer, is being barred from using the Budweiser brand in Germany this summer because of a bitter trademark dispute.

The world's largest brewer is thought to have paid around $40m (£23m) for Budweiser to become one of 15 premium sponsors, beside McDonald's, Coca-Cola and MasterCard. Various campaigns and promotions are already running. However, unlike fellow sponsors, the Budweiser brand will not appear on the all-important pitch-side hoardings because of a long-running row with the Czech brewer Budvar over which owns the name.

"America does not pitch up to the World Cup but the exposure is still massive," Nigel Currie, director of the sports marketing group Brand Rapport, said of the tournament. "You have 180 countries tuning in and brand coverage for three solid weeks."

The group had wanted to use the name Bud instead of Budweiser, but the German brewer Bitburger complained it was too similar to its Bit brand. The US giant will use Anheuser-Busch Bud. Bitburger will sell its beer in the stadiums.

"The event provides Anheuser-Busch with an excellent opportunity to continue to build our brand," said Tony Ponturo, vice-president of global media and sports marketing at the US giant.

"The dispute with a Czech brewer will not hamper our efforts to activate strong World Cup marketing programmes."