The category has been receiving lots of attention as of late, even being described as ‘the next craft beer,’ by some beverage industry members.
Many craft brewers already make a line of cider to complement their wide array of beer offerings. Jim Koch, the Founder and CEO of Boston Beer Co., launched the company’s Angry Orchard in 2011.
MillerCoors’ purchase of Crispin adds another layer of legitimacy to a fast growing category. The sale was founder Joe Heron’s second in the beverage category: In 2006 he sold his sugar-free functional soda company, Nutrisoda, to PepsiAmericas Inc.
Industry publication Craft Brew News reported in January that Crispin produced roughly 300,000 cases in 2011, just six percent of an overall cider market that the Beer Institute puts at five million cases. The largest cider company in the U.S. is Vermont Hard Cider Co., with its Woodchuck and Strongbow brands.
Below is the press release from Tenth and Blake.
CHICAGO, IL – Tenth and Blake Beer Company, MillerCoors craft-and-import division, has acquired Crispin Cider Company, giving it a significant presence in the beer industry’s fastest-growing category.
Minneapolis-based Crispin sold its first cases on St. Crispin’s Day, October 25, 2008. The company grew approximately 200 percent in 2011, outpacing the overall cider category’s 26 percent growth during the same period, and is already the No. 3 producer of cider in the U.S.
“Our vision is to accelerate our portfolio expansion within the world’s most exciting beer market. With cider’s explosion in the U.S., we were looking at the best way to participate in that growth,” said Tenth and Blake President and CEO Tom Cardella. “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.”
The deal includes Crispin’s affiliate, Fox Barrel Cider Company.
“We’re thrilled to be part of the Tenth and Blake family,” said Joe Heron, Crispin’s CEO. “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.
Crispin Cider Company produces European-style natural hard apple ciders using fermented unpasteurized fresh-pressed apple juice in Original, Light and Brut varietals, as well as additional unfiltered Artisanal Reserves — Honey Crisp, Lansdowne, The Saint and Cho-tokkyu, and also imports a classic English Dry Cider, Crispin Browns Lane.
Crispin affiliate, Fox Barrel Cider Company, is dedicated to the production of superior pure pear ciders, using fermented unpasteurized fresh-pressed pear juice. Available in Pacific Pear, Blackberry Pear and Apricot Pear varietals and additional unfiltered Cidery Reserves – Ginger & Blackcurrant and Rhubarb & Elderberry.
Crispin will be run as an independent division of Tenth and Blake.
“We’ll continue to create our ciders in our Colfax cidery, and we’ll maintain our own unique go-to-market execution,” Heron said.
About Fox Barrel & Crispin Cider Companies:
Crispin is based in Minneapolis MN, and creates its ciders in the Sierra Foothills in Colfax, CA. You can find out more at www.CrispinCider.com and www.FoxBarrel.com
About Tenth and Blake Beer Company:
The Tenth and Blake family of breweries includes Blue Moon Brewing Co. at the Sandlot in Denver, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. in Chippewa Falls, Wis., 10th Street Brewery in Milwaukee, AC Golden in Golden, Colorado, Birra Peroni in Rome and Plze?sky Prazdroj (Pilsner Urquell) in Pilsen, Czech Republic. Tenth and Blake beers include Blue Moon Belgian White, Leinenkugel’s Honey Weiss, George Killian’s Irish Red, Batch 19, Henry Weinhard’s IPA, Colorado Native, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Grolsch. You can find out more at www.Facebook.com/TenthAndBlake.