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Aspall cider bought by US beer giant Molson Coors

Suffolk cider and vinegar company Aspall has been acquired by US beer giant Molson Coors in a deal thought to be worth £40 million including debt.

Molson Coors has announced the expansion of its cider portfolio with the acquisition of Aspall cider.

Aspall, which was founded in 1728 by Clement Chevallier and continues to be run by the eighth generation of his family, produces cider as well as a range of vinegars.

Based in the parish of Aspall in Suffolk, it has been stated that “members of the family will remain part of the business and will play a key role in shaping the strategic direction of Aspall”.

Molson Coors has said that it wants to make Aspall the UK’s best-selling premium cider and build on the “huge potential of its vinegars”.

The two firms have been in talks for more than year before announcing the deal, according to Barry Chevaillier Guild, chairman of Aspall.

The deal is thought to be worth around £40m including debt, although the financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild.

The UK is the world’s biggest market for cider, accounting for 45% of total sales. Market research specialist Nielsen has reported that the total cider market grew by a quarter between 2010 and 2015 and is predicted to continue growing until 2020.

Phil Whitehead, Managing Director of Molson Coors UK & Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to add Aspall to the Molson Coors portfolio. Both companies share a similar history that is deeply rooted in family, dedication to customers and a commitment to excellence.

The Chevallier’s have been producing cider for almost 300-years and their range of brands enhances our existing portfolio. We’re now looking forward to helping Aspall become the number one premium cider in the UK and building on the huge potential of the Aspall vinegars, as part of an ongoing strategy to premiumise our portfolio”.

Barry Chevallier Guild, Aspall Chairman, added: “This is an important milestone in Aspall’s long history and a proud day for everyone involved with the company.

“Having been in close discussions with Molson Coors for over a year, we were delighted to find that they share our rich heritage, passion for making quality cider and vision for the future development of Aspall and its people. Molson Coors is known for respecting the provenance of local brands it has acquired in the past, and has the scale and expertise to accelerate our growth in the premium cider category in the UK and beyond.”

In the 12 months ending 2 April 2016, cider volume sales at Aspall increased by 10% to £27.1m equating to pre-tax profits of over £727,000. It employs 127 members of staff in its cider and vinegar business.

Aspall will operate as part of Molson Coors UK & Ireland, within the Molson Coors European business unit, and will continue to press, ferment, keg and bottle its cider at the Cyder House in Aspall.

Other cider brands owned by Molson Coors include Carling Cider, Crispin, Molson Canadian Cider, Smith and Forge, and Wanderoot.

Molson Coors also owns five breweries in the UK and Ireland based in Burton upon Trent, Tadcaster, Burtonwood, Sharp’s brewery in Rock, Cornwall and Franciscan Well in Cork, Ireland.

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