Tenth and Blake Beer Co., the craft and import division of Chicago-based MillerCoors, acquired Crispin Cider Co., Minneapolis. The acquisition gives the division a significant presence in the beer industry’s fast-growing hard cider category, according to the company.

Crispin Cider Co. ranks as the No. 3 producer of hard cider in the United States and grew approximately 200 percent in 2011, which outpaces the overall hard cider category’s 26 percent growth during the same period, the company said. The purchase also includes Crispin Cider Co.’s Fox Barrel Cider Co. Crispin Cider Co. will be run as an independent division of Tenth and Blake Beer Co., the company said.

“Our vision is to accelerate our portfolio expansion within the world’s most exciting beer market,” said Tenth and Blake President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Cardella in a statement. “With cider’s explosion in the U.S., we were looking at the best way to participate in that growth. As we explored the category, Crispin stood out, not only because they were the most progressive and innovative producer, but also because we shared great personal chemistry. In addition to the best cider portfolio in the business, we love their energy, creativity and unsurpassed innovation capability. They make us an even better company right away.”

Crispin Cider Co. produces European-style natural hard apple ciders using fermented unpasteurized fresh-pressed apple juice and is available in Original, Light and Brut varieties as well as unfiltered Artisanal Reserves, such as Honey Crisp and The Saint. The company also imports a classic English dry cider, Crispin Browns Lane.

Its affiliate, Fox Barrel Cider Co., is dedicated to the production of pure pear ciders that, like the apple cider, are made using fermented unpasteurized fresh-pressed pear juice. Fox Barrel ciders are available in Pacific Pear, Blackberry Pear and Apricot Pear varietals as well as unfiltered Cidery Reserves options, Ginger & Blackcurrant and Rhubarb & Elderberry.

“We’re thrilled to be part of the Tenth and Blake family,” said Joe Heron, Crispin Cider Co.’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “We’ve always had very ambitious plans, and we’re proud of what we’re achieving with great products and an unrivaled creativity that mirrors the inspirational American craft beer ethos. Tenth and Blake provides us the capability to scale up at the same pace as our increasingly accelerating demand in the U.S. and beyond.”

Crispin Cider Co. plans to continue creating its ciders at its cidery in Colfax, Calif., and will maintain its own go-to-market execution, according to the company statement.