Heineken N.V. (HEINEKEN) has announced it will take ownership of cider brand Strongbow from Asahi Group Holdings Limited (Asahi) in Australia, along with two other cider brands – Little Green and Bonamy’s.

The deal comes as the Japanese brewer needed to offload the brands as part of its deal to buy Carlton & United Breweries.

In reviewing Asahi’s bid to buy Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it would not oppose the $16bn acquisition if Asahi divested two of its beer and three of its cider brands.

HEINEKEN will also gain the perpetual licenses on beer brands Stella Artois and Beck’s in Australia (in New Zealand these brands are distributed through Lion NZ).

The CUB deal states that Asahi must ensure the divested brands receive the same access to bars, pubs and clubs as well as off-premise space under tap-tying agreements as Asahi’s brands until June 2023.

The five brands will be distributed in Australia by Drinkworks, the Australian sales and marketing arm of DB Breweries Limited (DB), HEINEKEN’s wholly-owned Australasian subsidiary.

“We are delighted to add the Strongbow brand, as well as Stella Artois, Becks, Little Green and Bonamy’s, to Drinkworks’ existing premium beer and cider portfolio,” says Peter Simons, Managing Director at DB.

“The addition of these brands will enable Drinkworks to further scale up and grow our operations in Australia, which is a very important market for us and one in which we expect future growth, particularly in the premium segment.”

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