Grolsch, the Dutch brewer best known for its distinctive swing-top beer bottles, has signed an agreement with German counterpart Warsteiner which will see the latter's Italian subsidiary take control of the marketing and distribution of Grolsch in Italy.
Grolsch said that its brand had been available in Italy for some time, and that it was the continued success of the beer there which had prompted the appointment of a new importer.
"The co-operation with Warsteiner Italia will enable Grolsch to expand its position in Italy," the company said in a statement.
Warsteiner Italia, based in Verona, has succesfully marketed and distributed the German beer brand in Italy for several years, helping it to become one of the leading brands in the imported beer segment there.
But it is not just this excellent track record which prompted Grolsch to partner with Warsteiner. The German company also owns a number of wholesale outlets in Italy which will help push the Grolsch brand into a number of new points of sale.
The partnership between Grolsch and Warsteiner was announced in early 2002, and this is in fact the second concrete example of the two companies - both medium-sized players in the European beer sector but benefiting from strong brand equity - working together.
The two brewers have already joined forces to improve their purchasing power for packaging materials, auxiliary materials and other items, and Grolsch said that both partners were keen to extend the co-operation to other fields of their business.
"The objective of the alliance is to strengthen the position and competitiveness of both parties in the concentrating beer industry in Europe whilst retaining their independent status," Grolsch said, a clear declaration of intent from two companies which have frequently been the subject of takeover rumours.