International brewing rivals Heineken and Interbrew are to end the incongruous agreement whereby Interbrew makes and distributes the "opposition" brand in the UK.
Heineken has sat awkwardly alongside Interbrew flagship beer Stella Artois within the Interbrew portfolio since Interbrew acquired the Whitbread Beer Company in May 2000.
The contract for brewing and distributing Heineken will cease next year and is not to be renewed.
The announcement leaves a void for standard lager within the Interbrew portfolio, which was immediately filled by the announcement that Interbrew will take on Australian brand Castlemaine XXXX from Carlsberg Tetley (C-T) plus a supply deal for Carlsberg lager.
From next year Heineken is to be marketed by a new company, Heineken UK, and the brand will be imported from Holland.
The Dutch company has long regarded the "Cold Filtered" version of the beer sold in the UK as a low-strength, poor relation to the core brand, which enjoys a premium reputation internationally.
Rob Marijnen, managing director of Heineken UK, said: "Now's the right time to launch a Dutch-brewed, international Heineken in the UK, and 2003 will be an exciting year for British drinkers who will be able to enjoy the taste and quality of a beer that is loved by millions of drinkers in over 170 countries around the world."
Doug Clydesdale, C-T's managing director of brands and sales, said: "We are obviously delighted with these developments, which are part of our strategic move to accelerate the growth of our core brands.
"Carlsberg is up some 20 per cent year on year and the additional volume will build upon the momentum of the recent brand re-launch and our World Cup sales successes."
The Castlemaine deal has been concluded with the full agreement of current licence holder C-T, which will continue to supply Castlemaine XXXX to C-T's free-trade customers and selected national accounts. In recent years XXXX had played second fiddle to Carlsberg and Carlsberg Export within C-T's marketing plans.
Interbrew has also been awarded the UK licensing agreement for the production, marketing and distribution of Murphy's Irish Stout by Heineken Ireland.
Stewart Gilliland, chief executive of Interbrew UK and Ireland, said: "The two licensing agreements for Castlemaine XXXX and Murphy's are aligned with our strategy of developing an unrivalled portfolio of brands that have a strong consumer franchise. Both brands offer tremendous opportunities and potential for growth."