Yesterday (7 January), the Suffolk-based cider firm, founded in 1728, announced the business had been sold to Carling and Sharp's owner Molson Coors.
After eight generations of family ownership, having been founded in the 18th century by Clement Chevallier, Aspall Cyder’s operations and portfolio will be transferred to the multimillion-pound brewer and distributor.
Aspall chairman Barry Chevallier Guild claimed the move was an “important milestone” in Aspall’s long history and a “proud day for everyone involved with the company”.
He added: “Having been in close discussions with Molson Coors for over a year, we are delighted to find that they share our rich heritage, passion for making quality cyder and vision for the future development of Aspall and its people.”
Premium cider category
Aspall’s volume cider sales grew by 10% in 2016, in line with the premium cider category, which has shown substantial value growth in recent years.
Aspall Draught Cyder is the tenth biggest-selling cider brand in the on-trade, moving near 78,000 hectolitres in the 12 months to August 2017, according to The Morning Advertiser’s (MA) Drinks List: Top Brands To Stock.
In the on-trade, cider remains one of the few long alcoholic drinks (LADs) categories to show strong growth, with overall value sales up 2.8%, according to The Drinks List: Top Brands To Stock.
Draught and premium are the main force behind the category’s growth, with apple dominating sales.
CGA client director Rachel Chard predicted cider would increase its on-trade volume share of the total LAD category by 14.5% over the next two years.
Of the acquisition, Molson Coors UK and Ireland managing director Phil Whitehead 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.”
Molson Coors would now work to increase Aspall’s market share to become “the number one premium cyder in the UK”, added Whitehead.
The beer giant has always been honest about its intention to increase its portfolio of beer and cider brands, a position Molson Coors marketing man Martin Coyle made clear to MA in 2016.
Following the launch of Molson’s premium Brew + Press range, Coyle said: “It’s certainly in the pipeline to get more craft and premium brands and there are live conversations going on at the moment. We’re looking at further opportunities to expand out craft portfolio through partnerships and investment.”
Just last month, the brewer secured the exclusive rights to the on- and off-trade sales of China’s Snow Beer in the UK.