As­pall sell in a coup for Coors

The Sunday Telegraph - Money & Business - - Front page - By Bradley Ger­rard

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

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