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Aspall reshuffles to cope with cider demand

UK cider producer Aspall has announced a major restructuring programme as it seeks to cope with a 40% growth in sales of its cider and vinegar products in the past year.

Henry Chevallier-Guild, chair of the National Association of Cider Makers, will step down from day-to-day involvement with the company to focus on Chevallier Brewing, a company he set up last year to source and create premium beer brands.

Commercial director Geoff Bradman and finance director Des Smith have been promoted to become joint managing directors, reporting to chairman Barry Chevallier-Guild.

Aspall has sat aside £4 million to spend on equipment and installation costs over the next two to three years in order to deal with the rapid increase in demand, including fermentation and storage tanks for cider. A project to improve fruit management and pressing is also underway.

Barry Chevallier-Guild said: “Aspall has experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years.

“Our new structure and significant investments in people and production facilities ensure we are able to keep pace with this growth and to lead the premium cider and vinegar markets.”

Despite the rise in demand at Aspall, recent figures suggest the boom in UK cider consumption may be levelling off.

Sales peaked at the mid point of last year, according to NACM figures. Since then they’ve been flat, so the total 2010 volume was broadly in line with 2009. It is not expected that 2011 will see much in the way of a rise.

Alan Lodge, 15.06.2011

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