Boston Beer Plans to Purchase New York Apple Orchard

Boston Beer is going vertical in the U.S. cider category.

The company, which produces and markets the Angry Orchard line of hard ciders, has agreed to purchase a 60-acre orchard in upstate Montgomery, New York. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Jeffrey Crist, the president and principal family owner of Crist Bros. Orchards, confirmed to Brewbound that agreements are in place to sell the property to Boston Beer.

“We are committed formally to sell it,” he said. “It’s a smaller farm that is out of range from our other farms and it wasn’t a particularly good fit for us anymore. They [Boston Beer] were looking in the area for a ‘new home’ and looking to grow some of their own products.”

A Wallkill Valley Times article from Aug. 27, indicates that Boston Beer will look to use the site as its “home base.” The company hopes to build a small research and development facility complete with retail and self-guided tour components, a company spokesperson told the paper. Boston Beer also plans to host cider festivals at the new location and include the space in its national ad campaigns, the Valley Times article added.

Crist, a fourth generation commercial apple grower, said that upwards of 40,000 bushels (each weighing 40 pounds) could be grown on the property that Boston Beer intends to purchase.

By comparison, in 2012, the total U.S. crop of apples was 216 million bushels, only 1.7 million of which were used to make cider.

Indeed, Crist said his company primarily supplies U.S. grocery retailers with apples for consumer consumption, not cider makers. Crist Bros. Orchards currently grows apples on 600 of its 1,000 acres.

Since rolling out nationally in April, 2012, Angry Orchard sales have swelled. Through Aug. 10, sales of its Crisp Apple variety were up 80 percent in U.S. supermarkets, according to market research firm IRI. When segmented with all beer and cider offerings, Crisp Apple is already ranked as a top-30 brand in U.S. grocery outlets, according to IRI.

Boston Beer officials did not immediately respond to a requests for comment.

Update (as of 4:00 PM): A Boston Beer spokeswoman told Brewbound the company has filed a “planning inquiry” for a property in New York that it believes will “make a great home for Angry Orchard.”

“It is the leading candidate currently under review but we are still a long ways away from finalizing any plans and have not purchased anything yet,” Jessica Paar, the company’s director of public relations wrote to Brewbound in an email.

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