C&C Group Completes Acquisition of Vermont Hard Cider

Woodchuck Cider LogoThe $305 million acquisition of Vermont Hard Cider Company LLC — maker of Woodchuck Hard Cider — by the Irish cider company C&C Group is now complete.

First announced in late October, the deal represents roughly four times Vermont Hard Cider’s expected $70 million in revenue for 2012. When it was announced, Vermont Hard Cider’s president and CEO, Bret Williams, said he felt “pretty good” about the amount.

“I think it is a very aggressive offer,” he said at the time. “If this were a large global brewer like MillerCoors or AB-InBev, I wouldn’t have sold. They offered a quick exit that was painless.”

The acquisition took less than two months to complete.

Cider currently makes up less than 1 percent of the total U.S. beer market but growth is promising. The category generated nearly $450 million in retail sales in 2011, up 23 percent over 2010. Year-to-date figures ending in November from the research firm Nielsen show that off-premise sales of cider are up 65 percent.

Vermont Hard Cider will join an impressive C&C portfolio that already includes brands like Magner’s and Hornsby’s. The company is on pace to ship just under 4 million cases in 2012, representing 25 percent growth year-to-date.