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Dublin-based C&C Group, manufacturer of cider brands in Ireland and the U.K., will acquire Vermont Hard Cider Co., Middlebury, Vt., for $305 million. The transaction, which is subject to competition and regulatory approvals, will allow C&C to fully harness and maximize the growth of its U.S. cider business.
Vermont Hard Cider Co. will operate on a standalone basis as a wholly owned subsidiary of C&C Group. Bret Williams will remain the president and chief executive officer of Vermont Hard Cider Co. Production of the company’s Woodchuck brand will remain in Vermont, utilizing its current workforce.
“C&C recognizes that in order to maintain Woodchuck’s current success, its core values must remain intact,” Williams said in a statement. “The brand and company will remain rooted in Vermont, utilizing its current workforce, and the quality of the liquid will not be compromised. It is our belief that significant opportunities for growth of the cider category are possible by combining these iconic cider brands.”
C&C Group also has committed to move forward with the planned cidery construction in Middlebury in order to further cider growth in the United States and possibly create local jobs. Sales in the cider category have grown nearly 60 percent compared with 2011, and Woodchuck hard cider sales continue to increase approximately 25 percent a year, according to Vermont Hard Cider Co.
“We recognize what Vermont Hard Cider has done to support and grow the cider industry in the United States,” said Stephen Glancey, chief executive officer of C&C Group, in a statement. “The cider category wouldn’t exist today if not for the hard work they have put in over the last two decades. Their ability to innovate rare and limited batch ciders serves to push the category forward in the years to come. It is an exciting time to be in the cider business, and we are excited to be leading the way.”