Interbrew is seeking partnerships with regional brewers to grow Dutch brand Oranjeboom as a major national lager.
Oranjeboom Pilsner is already brewed under licence by Shepherd Neame in Kent, and Interbrew is looking to finalise three or four similar agreements with other regionals.
Florence Manderscheid, UK marketing manager for Interbrew, said it hoped to announce the first such agreement, with a brewer in the North West of England, in the New Year.
Further deals are likely to include Scotland and the South West of England.
"Regional brewers need to look at their portfolios and add credible brands to them," Manderscheid said. She said Oranjeboom had proved a major success for Shepherd Neame, which previously made only its own lagers, Hurlimann and Steinbock.
To begin with, the focus will be on the 4.2 per cent ABV pilsner, although this may be extended to include the 5.0 per cent premium variety.
Manderscheid said the intention was to establish Oranjeboom as a national brand. Currently around 60,000 barrels are being produced per year, but the eventual aim is to quadruple this to 250,000 barrels, supplying up to 3,000 outlets.
Manderscheid also outlined Interbrew's aims for other key brands. These included:
- push to increase the global presence of Stella Artois, doubling its worldwide volumes. There will be particular emphasis on Asia and the US, using the distribution strength of Labatts, another Interbrew partner.
- doubling the number of UK outlets stocking Hoegaarden in the UK from 2,000 to 4,000
- gradual expansion of the number of outlets stocking draught Leffe Blonde from Belgium, currently 200.