This Budvar's for you

Anheuser-Busch continues making deals with foreign brewers that will serve to increase its already-gigantic share of the American beer market.

The latest is with Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar, which gives Anheuser-Busch importation rights to Czechvar Premium Czech Lager, previously sold in 30 states by Distinguished Brands. Czechvar is sold as Budvar in most countries, a marketing move that has been a matter of legal disputes between the two companies for years over the similarity of names.

"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," August A. Busch IV, A-B's CEO, said in a press release. "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."

Czechvar still will be brewed in the Czech Republic.

A-B previously struck distribution deals with Stella Artois, Beck's, Grolsch, Tiger, Kirin and Bass Pale Ale among others.

ADDENDUM: On Jan. 11, a European high court ruled that Anheuser-Busch cannot sell beer under the brand name Budweiser in Portugal. The ruling upheld a 2001 decision by Portugal's Supreme Court that Budejovicky Budvar had the right to use the brand name under a 1986 treaty between the Czech Republic and Portugal. A-B had argued that the Portuguese ruling infringed on Article 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees individuals and companies protection of property. A lower chamber of the Strasbourg-based court had dismissed the company's complaint in 2005, and the court's Grand Chamber of 17 judges upheld that verdict on Jan. 11.

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