NEW YORK (AP) _ United Brands Co. said Tuesday that one of its spokesmen erred Monday in saying the company had sold its interest in Vernors Inc. of Detroit, whose ginger ale is the country's oldest soft drink.

Bill Reddig, an outside spokesman for United, said Tuesday that the company had sold only the bottling rights for most of southeastern Michigan and northern Ohio.

Vernors retained the rights to the formula to the ginger ale, which is sold in 22 states, Reddig said. He said the company planned to expand nationwide.