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Anheuser-Busch relinquishes Grolsch importing to Miller

BY Jenna Duncan

MILWAUKEE, Wis. Anheuser-Busch announced that it no longer will exclusively hold the rights to import Grolsch beers in the U.S. The company said it has agreed to a deal allowing rival Miller Brewing Co. to handle Grolsch for an undisclosed amount of money.

This change comes after Miller’s European parent company, SABMiller, acquired the owner of the Grolsch beers brand, Royal Grolsch NV, in February. The distribution deal is expected to close by Aug. 1. Financial details have not been released.

Milwaukee-based Miller will take over as importer of the complete Grolsch brand line-up.

“The time is right to end our importation of these brands,” Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of marketing, David Peacock. “It is important that our wholesalers who transition these brands are able to protect their investments. This agreement includes provisions for our distributors that will compensate them appropriately.”

Grolsch now will be granted access to Miller’s some 450 distributors. The distributors will be given the chance to stock the Dutch beer in their stores.

Anheuser-Busch is the brewer of Budweiser and Bud Light and leads the American domestic market in beer sales.

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Smucker buys Knott’s Berry Farm

BY Jenna Duncan

Knott’s Berry Farm, maker of jams, jellies, preserves and gift sets, has been bought out by J.M. Smucker, ConAgra Foods today announced.

Details of the transaction have not been released, but ConAgra has said that the sale will not affect its 2009 sales and profit growth projections. The acquired business is expected to add approximately $40 million in annual net sales to the J.M. Smucker portfolio.

The buyout does not include the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park, located in Anaheim, Calif. That property is owned by Cedar Fair L.P., a publicly-traded company based in Sandusky, Ohio.

Sources said that production of Knott’s Berry Farm food products will transition to Smuckers’ facilities during the course of the next four months.

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Wish-Bone dressing giveaway aimed at encouraging healty eating

BY Alaric DeArment

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. Not everyone was raised by dieticians, but parents who exhort their children to eat their greens still have a point.

Wish-Bone wants to encourage people to eat more vegetables by giving away bottles of its new Bountifuls salad dressing between May 30 and June 1.

After buying bottles of Bountifuls at supermarkets, people can download a mail-in rebate form and send it in with their receipts. The form is at www.wish-bone.com/Digital-Garden.aspx.

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