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Dutch brewer Grolsch contracts new distributor in the U.S.

Anheuser-Busch takes over

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ST. LOUIS, Missouri – Royal Grolsch and Anheuser-Busch Inc. have signed an agreement, which gives the Dutch brewer access to the U.S. market through the marketing and sales network of the American beer giant. Until recently, Grolsch was distributed in the U.S. by Stamford, Connecticut-based United States Beverage LLC.

Financial details about the agreement were not disclosed. Anheuser-Busch, Inc. however emphasized that the company will not take a stake in Grolsch.

Traditional (pilsner or lager) beer sales in the U.S. are flattening, while consumers’ interest in high-end imports and micro-brew products is increasing rapidly. Anheuser-Busch is the U.S.’ biggest brewer and maker of the Budweiser, Michelob and Bud Light brands.

Grolsch has remained a niche player for decades in the United States, unlike fellow Dutch brewer Heineken. Grolsch Premium Lager is famous for its distinctive taste, iconic swing-top bottle closure and green embossed bottle. The deal also includes the entire Grolsch brand line-up, including the small, but growing Amber Ale, Grolsch Light Lager and Grolsch Lager.

The brand name Grolsch literally means ‘from Grol’ or Grolle, a historic town in the eastern part of the Netherlands, and now known as Groenlo. The Grolsch brewery dates back to 1615. The town itself received its charter in 1277, although the community - then known as Grunloh - dates from the 10th century. Besides a brewery in Groenlo itself, the company also had huge facilities in nearby Enschede. The brewery was heavily damaged by the fireworks disaster of May13, 2000.

In 2005, Grolsch opened a new, consolidated brewery in nearby Boekelo.