Bloomberg News

SABMiller, Molson Buy Cider Maker Crispin to Tap U.S. Demand

February 07, 2012

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- MillerCoors LLC, the U.S. joint venture between SABMiller Plc and Molson Coors Brewing Co., bought Crispin Cider Company for an undisclosed amount to tap soaring demand for the fermented apple drink.

Crispin, the U.S.’s third-biggest cider producer, will be run as a unit of MillerCoors’s Tenth and Blake division, London- based SABMiller said in an e-mailed statement. A spokesman for SABMiller declined to comment on the transaction’s price.

Cider consumption has climbed 72 percent to about 440,000 hectolitres last year in the U.S. from 2005, according to SABMiller. Crispin, which makes The Saint, Honey Crisp and Lansdowne unfiltered ciders, tripled volumes last year, the statement said.

“We were looking at the best way to participate in that growth,” Tom Cardella, chief executive officer of Tenth and Blake, said in the statement. “Crispin stood out.”

The acquisition is the first since SABMiller made a $1.9 billion deal with Turkey’s Anadolu Efes Biracilik & Malt Sanayii AS and agreed to purchase Foster’s Group Ltd. in a transaction worth about A$10.5 billion ($11.3 billion) last year.

The acquisition includes Crispin’s affiliate, Fox Barrel Cider Company, which makes pear ciders. Crispin, based in Minneapolis, will continue to make its European-style hard apple ciders in Colfax, California, and all workers will become employees of Tenth and Blake, the company said.

Crispin competes with Vermont Hard Cider Company and Hornsby’s, which C&C Group Group Plc bought from E&J Gallo Winery in November last year. C&C Group Chief Executive Officer designate Stephen Glancey said in November he saw “huge potential” to expand cider sales in the U.S.

--Editors: Marthe Fourcade, Chris Nicholson.

To contact the reporter on this story: Clementine Fletcher in London cfletcher5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sara Marley at smarley1@bloomberg.net


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