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ST. LOUIS -- Anheuser-Busch has purchased the Rolling Rock brands from InBev USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Belgian-based InBev, paying $82 million for the global brand rights and recipes for the Rolling Rock beers.
"We have an ideal opportunity to grow this historic brand," said August A. Busch IV, president of Anheuser-Busch Inc. "This beer is not like others, and its consumer following is equally distinctive. We live in a diverse world where consumers are hungry for variety. Acquiring Rolling Rock enables us to reach a new audience and to continue building our broad portfolio of products that meet the wide-ranging needs of consumers."
Anheuser-Busch acquires the Rolling Rock brands and recipes with the transaction, and will now start to work with the existing Rolling Rock wholesaler network and Anheuser-Busch wholesalers to define plans for the future. The new owner will begin brewing Rolling Rock and Rock Green Light in August using the brands' recipes, maintaining Rolling Rock's craftsmanship and heritage, according to the brewer.
Rolling Rock was introduced in 1939 by Latrobe Brewing Co. and acquired by InBev's Labatt U.S.A. in 1987. InBev plans to sell its brewery in Latrobe, Pa., separately, to focus its U.S. business on imported beers. It said it is in discussions with potential buyers to determine the best available options for the brewery and its employees.
"The decision to sell the Rolling Rock brands was based on InBev's strategic approach to the U.S. market, which is to focus on the high-growth import brands in our portfolio," said Doug Corbett, president of InBev USA. "Our sales and marketing efforts will emphasize our leading imported beers, including Stella Artois, Bass Pale Ale, Beck's, Brahma and Labatt Blue."
Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch brews Budweiser and Bud Light; and also owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer, and a 27 percent share in Tsingtao, the No. 1 brewer in China. Anheuser-Busch ranked No. 1 among beverage companies in Fortune magazine's "Most Admired U.S. and Global Companies" lists in 2006.