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CMBC loses San Miguel licence deal to AB InBev

AB InBev subsidiary Budweiser Brewing Group has signed a new deal with Mahou San Miguel (MSM) to distribute San Miguel in the UK.

The deal follows news that Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) is bringing its licence partnership with MSM to a close next year and will bring the Spanish brewer’s two flagship beer brands under one umbrella, with Budweiser Brewing Group already distributing Mahou in the UK.

Speaking about the end of the partnership, CMBC confirmed that its long-term exclusive licensed production and distribution agreement with San Miguel will end officially on 31 December 2024. Until that date, CMBC will remain as the exclusive licence partner for MSM and will continue to exclusively brew, distribute and market the San Miguel brand as normal until that time.

CMBC will work closely with MSM and its new licence partner Budweiser Brewing Group over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition. San Miguel will join Budweiser Brewing Group’s portfolio from 1 January 2025 when the company will begin to distribute and promote San Miguel’s range of world beers in the UK, including San Miguel Especial, San Miguel 0.0 and San Miguel Gluten Free.


CMBC CEO Paul Davies said: “We can confirm that MSM has decided not to renew its partnership with CMBC from 1 January 2025. From that date onwards, CMBC will no longer exclusively sell and brew San Miguel under licence in the UK. Naturally, we are disappointed by the decision, and are working to mitigate the impact on our business. We are incredibly proud of our many achievements over more than 15 years with MSM, massively driving distribution and significantly growing San Miguel brand volume.”

Speaking about the new deal, Mahou San Miguel managing director Alberto Rodríguez-Toquero explained that the decision “marks a new chapter for Mahou San Miguel in the UK” and “further extends the relationship between our two companies”. He explained that “the UK is an important market for San Miguel and we are confident that Budweiser Brewing Group will succeed in fulfilling our ambitious plans for the brand”.

AB InBev CEO Europe Jason Warner added: “At Budweiser Brewing Group, we’re proud to sell some of the nation’s favourite beers. We are delighted to bring San Miguel into our portfolio of brands. Our customers can now look forward to experiencing the exceptional quality that both Mahou San Miguel and Budweiser Brewing Group are known for, as we toast to a future with more cheers.”

Continued offer

CMBC continues to offer brands such as Carlsberg Danish Pilsner, Birrificio Angelo Poretti and Brooklyn Pilsner, along with British ales such as Hobgoblin and Wainwright, which has faced controversy from CAMRA due to its positioning as a ‘fresh ale’ concept.

Last year, CMBC agreed a deal to acquire the Kronenbourg 1664 brand from Heineken, following up with the launch of the super-premium 1664 Blanc earlier this year and relaunching the lager brand under the ‘1664’ banner with the redesigned 1664 Bière and also made a multi-million-pound investment into San Miguel for the summer.

CMBC has faced a swathe of challenges of late and, despite is strides towards running a more sustainable business, including a £10 million investment into its Northampton brewery, its closure of historic brewing sites such as Ringwood were termed as ‘corporate vandalism’ affecting its reputation within the beer industry.

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