Woodchuck Hard Cider is moving fast. Six-hundred bottles are produced every minute at the Vermont Hard Cider company headquarters, making it the number one selling cider in America. But now it's ownership is moving overseas.
They're a like-minded company. They're a cider only operation just like us. They have one small beer brand in Scotland, other than that they're a purely cider player," said Bret Williams, Vermont Hard Cider's CEO.
Williams said he never expected the offer from C&C Group, a cider seller based in Dublin, Ireland, and he says he wasn't shopping the company around, but it was an offer he couldn't resist. "It's an exciting time. It's great for the employees. The timing is right and we are really excited about what the future has to bring for Woodchuck," he said.
Right now, the facilities are maxed out. If the company wants to keep growing, officials say it needs more room. C&C Group endorses building a second cidery a mile from the existing facility in Middlebury. Williams says C&C expects it to be a 30-million dollar project, when Vermont cider was only planning on 24 million.
"I think that's pounding a stake in the ground. That's a real commitment to stay here in the long haul and that's going to more than double our capacity and we're going to need a lot more jobs to keep up with the demand," Williams said.
As part of the deal no jobs will be lost. In fact, Williams said about 30 more will be added. Despite an increase in competition in recent years, Williams believes the deal will help Woodchuck to grow and remain number one in the U.S. "Having deeper pockets to invest in Woodchuck and having a global partner with a little bit more muscle cannot be a bad thing," he said.
Breaking ground on the second cidery is expected to happen this spring, which could double the company's yearly output -- currently at just under 4 million cases.
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