After nearly a century of disagreements in certain parts of the world over rights to the Budweiser name for their beers, Anheuser-Busch and Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar have formed a historic alliance in which Anheuser-Busch will become the U.S. importer of Czechvar Premium Czech Lager, the two brewers announced in a press release Monday.
The agreement gives Czechvar, previously sold in 30 states by Distinguished Brands, access to A-B’s wide-reaching U.S. distribution network. It gives Anheuser-Busch another European import as part of a into high-end beer categories that has led to alliances with Grolsch, Tiger, Kirin and most recently InBev, which added Stella Artois, Beck’s, Bass Pale Ale and other beers to its import portfolio.
The agreement does not impact existing litigation or trademark disputes between the two brewers in other countries, and they have agreed the partnership cannot be used to support either side in any trademark cases.
Czechvar is sold as Budvar in most of the world.
“After years of differences, this is a meaningful step for two great brewers to form a relationship that is good for both of our businesses,” said August A. Busch IV, A-B’s CEO. “For Anheuser-Busch, it also represents an opportunity to enhance our import portfolio with a super-premium Czech import. Working with our family of wholesalers, we look forward to introducing Czechvar to a new audience of beer lovers.”
The imported Czechvar beer will continue to be brewed at the BBNP brewery in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic.
“Our business agreement will particularly please all connoisseurs of imported beers in the USA. Experience of many brewers’ generations, who have brewed beer in our town for more than 700 years, lies behind our premium lager,” said BBNP’s CEO, Jiri Bocek.
“At the same time, the agreement represents a historical turning point between our companies. We have managed to move away from discussions between lawyers and towards a practical dialogue, which is going to be beneficial to both sides. Our corporation has therefore gained the best importer in the USA,” added Bocek.
Terms of the agreement – including compensation for Distinguished Brands – were not disclosed.