Anheuser-Busch InBev Buys Beer in Budweiser Rival’s Home

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest beer maker and the maker of Budweiser, bought a brewery in the home town of Budejovicky Budvar, a rival it has battled over brand rights for more than a century.

InBev bought Pivovar Samson a.s. and is considering expanding the brewer’s Budweiser brand, the company said in a statement today, without disclosing the details of the deal. Through the takeover, InBev acquires beer production in the city of Ceske Budejovice, known as Budweis in German, that is the source of the name claimed by both it and Budvar.

Each brewer has won or lost the right in rulings in different countries to use brands linked to the city’s name. Anheuser-Busch, founded by German-born American Adolphus Busch, said it started using the Budweiser name in 1876, 19 years before Budvar was formed. Czech Budvar claims so-called appellation of origin rights, which are EU-enforced protections for products associated with certain regions, such as champagne.

The sale of the Samson brewery is not a “threat” to Budvar, the Czech state-owned brewer said in an e-mailed statement. Samson doesn’t own any “Budweiser” trademarks and the ownership change has no impact on trademarks, lawsuits or Budvar’s business, it said.

InBev was formally granted the European Union-wide trademark right to use the “Bud” name last year after an EU agency registered the intellectual property right. Outside of the EU, Budvar sells its beer as Czechvar.

Budejovicky Budvar started to make beer in 1896 in Ceske Budejovice, where the lager brewing tradition dates back to the thirteenth century.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.