Vermont Hard Cider Acquired By Irish Beverage Company

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The leading hard cider producer in the United States has been acquired by its chief rival in Europe. The Vermont Hard Cider Company agreed Tuesday to merge with the C&C Group of Ireland.

Vermont Hard Cider says the $305 million deal will allow it to "fully harness and maximize growth of its US business."

Bret Williams is president and CEO of the company, which makes Woodchuck Hard Cider.

That brand launched 22 years ago in a garage in Proctorsville, and Williams says – even after the deal is made official early next year – Woodchuck will remain firmly rooted in Vermont.

"We will continue buying local fruit. Woodchuck has always been really synonymous with Vermont," Williams said in a phone interview. "Vermont is in the soul of the brand and that can never change."

Williams says that he’ll continue to be Vermont Hard Cider’s CEO, and he says the Irish company is committed to building a cidery in Middlebury.

Cider sales in the US have recently seen tremendous growth – up almost 60 percent over last year.

The C&C Group produces Magners Irish Cider. The company’s shares rose 6 percent in London after the news was released.

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