Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company and HEINEKEN UK announce UK deal for Kronenbourg 1664

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) has today announced a deal in which Carlsberg Group will acquire the UK rights for French beer brand Kronenbourg from HEINEKEN UK. The transfer of the licence will be effective from 1 June 2023.

The deal will see Carlsberg Group acquire all rights to produce and distribute the well-known premium lager, Kronenbourg 1664 in the UK via CMBC. The Kronenbourg 1664 brand is owned globally by Carlsberg Group. Under the agreement, HEINEKEN UK will continue to brew and pack Kronenbourg 1664 under contract, before moving to CMBC in 2024. A three-year commercial arrangement has also been agreed to continue to list and provide the brand to HEINEKEN UK’s Star Pubs & Bars.

HEINEKEN UK has held the licence for the lager since 2008, following the acquisition of Scottish & Newcastle by Carlsberg and HEINEKEN.

Kronenbourg 1664 is one of the biggest premium lagers in the On and Off Trade in the UK and is widely available in both retail channels. Famed for its ad campaigns featuring Eric Cantona over the last few years, HEINEKEN UK has built the brand to become one of the most recognisable beers in UK pubs and supermarkets.

Paul Davies, CEO of CMBC, said: “We’re delighted to announce our agreement to take responsibility for Kronenbourg 1664, reinforcing CMBC’s position as one of the most exciting brewers in the UK. Supporting brands and innovating in the premium category is a key pillar of our strategy and adding Kronenbourg 1664 to our enviable portfolio is an incredible opportunity to achieve this.

“Kronenbourg 1664 is an excellent beer with a distinctive provenance, that is growing in both volume and value with strong brand awareness amongst consumers. We look forward to sharing our exciting plans to relaunch the brand with our partners in the On and Off Trade and cementing Kronenbourg 1664 as a leader in the category.”

Boudewijn Haarsma, Managing Director of HEINEKEN UK, said: “We’ve been a strong custodian of Kronenbourg in the UK over the last fourteen years, maintaining product quality and investing in its marketing and distribution as part of our portfolio. During this time, we have also been investing behind our premium brands, such as Birra Moretti, and taking ownership of super premium beers Beavertown and Brixton. We’ve also exciting plans in the UK for our Spanish lager Cruzcampo. With a great brand range to offer our customers, now is the right time for Kronenbourg 1664 to enter its next chapter and we’re pleased to have reached this agreement with Carlsberg.”

Andrew Khan, Vice President, Global Premium & Beyond Beer at Carlsberg Group, said: “Today marks a special moment for one of our iconic brands, 1664, for the Carlsberg Group and for CMBC. The team at CMBC share our great passion for 1664, and this agreement is an incredible opportunity to energise the brand, drive innovation and deliver growth within CMBC’s beer portfolio.

“As part of the Carlsberg Group globally, 1664 is enjoyed by customers all around the world and has seen strong and consistent performance in Europe and Asia, where we have been seeing strong double-digit growths in a number of key markets.  We have enormous confidence in CMBC’s ambitious vision for 1664 in the UK and are excited for consumers to enjoy exceptional experiences with the brand.”

CMBC and HEINEKEN UK will work closely to support a smooth transition for customers, ahead of CMBC taking over UK distribution at the start of June.