Aspall sell in a coup for Coors
THE family which has run Aspall cider for eight generations is set to toast a multi-million pound windfall as brewing giant Molson Coors snaps up its Suffolk-based business.
Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild, alongside other family members, have for more than 20 years run the business first started by their ancestor Clement Chevallier at Aspall Hall in 1728. Discussions over a potential sale have been ongoing for more than a year, according to Barry Chevallier Guild, who said he had a “mixed set of emotions” about selling the family business to the Coors, Staropramen and Carling brewer.
Mr Chevallier Guild, who is chairman of the business, said the rationale for the sale was the need for more investment to fuel growth. He was convinced Molson was the right buyer after visiting Sharp’s Brewery in Cornwall, which Molson acquired in 2011 for £20m. The Aspall deal is understood to give the company an enterprise value of £40m, although this figure includes debt (roughly £19m in 2016 accounts) and the promise of investment from Molson.
The brothers will remain at the company to provide what Mr Chevallier Guild called “strategic direction”, acting as the “conscience” for Molson Coors in terms of future direction.
Molson Coors said it would invest in the Suffolk site, where Aspall, which also has a vinegar business, employs its 127 workers. Aspall, which uses the archaic spelling ‘cyder’ in its labelling, has carved out a growing presence in the premium cider market.
Sales at Aspall rose by 15pc to £27.1m in 2016, leading to pre-tax profits of more than £727,000.
“The thing that swung it for me was visiting Sharp’s Brewery in Rock. I met the people who had been there from the beginning,” he said.
“We were allowed to wander around without senior staff from Molson, so we could talk frankly and openly. I came away thinking ‘these are the right people for us’.”
Barry Chevallier Guild, chairman of Aspall Cyder makers in Aspall, Suffolk, toasts the family firm’s deal with brewing giant Molson