Molson Coors Brewing Company has acquired 290-year-old family-run cider maker Aspall with plans to grow the business in the UK and internationally.
Announcing the deal today, the US-based global drinks group pledged to invest in Aspall’s Suffolk operation and help to make it the number-one premium cider in the UK.
Aspall was founded in 1728 by Clement Chevallier and is now run by the eighth generation of his family, led by chairman Barry Chevallier Guild and Henry Chevallier Guild.
Molson Coors said that members of the family would remain part of the business and play a key role in shaping the strategic direction of Aspall.
The deal brings a leading premium cider to Molson Coors’ global portfolio which currently includes Rekorderlig Cider, Carling Cider, Crispin Cider, Molson Canadian Cider, Smith and Forge Hard Cider and Canada’s Wanderoot.
Barry Chevallier Guild said: “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.”
Henry Chevallier Guild added: “There is a real opportunity to elevate and grow the status of English cider in the UK and abroad both as a beverage and as an excellent partner for food. We believe that Molson Coors’ investment will provide the catalyst to grow Aspall and build the recognition for quality cider worldwide.”
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 at the Cyder House in Aspall in Suffolk.
Molson Coors is also interested in building on the success of Aspall’s specialty vinegars, including Aspall Organic Cyder vinegar, which is made using a fermentation process that is the only one of its kind in the world.
Phil Whitehead, managing director of Molson Coors UK & Ireland, said: “Both companies share a similar history that is deeply rooted in family, dedication to customers and a commitment to excellence.
“The Chevalliers 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.”
Volume of cider sales at Aspall increased by 10% in 2016 alongside growth in the total cider market which rose in value by over 25% between 2010 and 2015. It is projected to continue growing until at least 2020, according to data from Nielsen.