A-B Buys Rolling Rock Brands

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A-B Buys Rolling Rock Brands

ST. LOUIS -- Anheuser-Busch Inc. has purchased the Rolling Rock brands from InBev USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Belgium-based InBev.

The acquisition will expand Anheuser-Busch's portfolio of products and leverage its sales and distribution skills to make the Rolling Rock brands available to more consumers. Anheuser-Busch paid $82 million for the global brand rights and recipes.

Introduced in 1939 by Latrobe Brewing Co. and acquired by InBev's Labatt U.S.A. in 1987, Rolling Rock is a historic American lager that is well-known for its distinctive, full-bodied taste and painted green bottle. Rolling Rock has established itself as an authentic, iconic American lager with a loyal following.

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. Anheuser-Busch will begin brewing Rolling Rock and Rock Green Light in August using the brands' same time-honored recipes, maintaining Rolling Rock's craftsmanship and heritage that its fans expect and appreciate. Internationally, Rolling Rock will continue to be sold in the UK and Ireland.

The acquisition follows news that microbrewer Goose Island Beer Co. is reportedly in talks to sell a major stake in the company to Anheuser-Busch. The Chicago Tribune reported that the St. Louis, Mo. beer giant -- the brewer of Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob -- is close to buying up to 35 percent of Goose Island and taking over its distribution.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper reported that negotiations have been under way for more than six months, and a deal could be finalized within a month.

Founder John Hall started Goose Island in 1988 with a brewpub in Chicago. The company now operates another pub near Wrigley Field and a 34,000-square-foot brewery on Chicago's West Side, according to a Crain's report.

A message left for Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall was not immediately returned.

Dave Peacock, Anheuser-Busch's vice-president of administration, said in a statement, "It is our policy to not confirm, deny or speculate on reports of potential investments, acquisitions, mergers, new business partnerships or other transactions."