Molson Coors promises to invest at Suffolk home of Aspall cider
- Credit: Archant
The Suffolk roots of premium cider brand Aspall will remain a key factor in its future development, according to both its new and former owners.
North American-based multinational brewing group Molson Coors has acquired the cider and vinegar maker ? established in 1728 by Clement Chevallier in the village of Aspall, near Debenham, where it is still based ? in a deal thought to value the Suffolk company at around £40m.
But brothers Henry and Barry Chevallier Guild, the eighth generation of the family to run the firm, will continue to be involved in the business.
And Phil Whitehead, managing director of Molsom Coors in the UK and Ireland, says the group is committed to investment at the Suffolk site were the workforce of more than 100 is now set for further growth.
Henry Chevallier Guild said: “We have been looking at the various options for funding growth over the past year and came to the clear view that we needed outside help.
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“We looked at lots of different options but when we talked to Molson Coors we found that we were very aligned in our view of the Aspall brand, ours and theirs.”
Molson Coors aims to model the future development of Aspall on that of Cornish craft brewer Sharp’s which the group acquired in 2011, since when Sharp’s Doom Bar has become the UK’s number one cask beer brand.
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Henry continued: “We went to see the Sharp’s brewery at Rock in Cornwall and Phil told us to take a look around with some of the original guys there while he stayed behind, saying that Molson Coors had nothing to hide.”
Barry Chevallier Guild said that he and his brother had talked over the company’s future options at great length, and had also involved other members of the family.
“It was a difficult decision to sell and one we did not take lightly but, looking at everything as a whole, it was the right thing,” he said.
Henry added: “After so many years of family ownership there was a matter of responsibility but in the end we decided that, viewed from the perspective of the employees, the irresponsible option would have been to try to carry on alone.”
Phil Whitehead said: “We feel we are buying a business with a great brand and great people. We will work with Henry and Barry to invest in the brand to turn the site into a world-class facility.”
He added that a new general manager would start work at Aspall this week, with Des Smith, who has been managing director since 2011, leaving the business.
Aspall was represented in the negotiations with Molson Coors by Norwich-based law firm Howes Percival.