Burton brewer Molson Coors is expanding after taking over a 300-year-old cider firm in a deal believed to be worth £40 million.

Molson Coors has snapped up Aspall Cyder Limited which has been brewed in Suffolk since 1728 after being founded by Clement Chevallier, and is currently run by the eighth generation of his family. It is understood the firm and brewing will remain in its hometown, Debeham, 30 miles from Norwich. It employs 127 people.

It means the two firms have close to 650 years of combined experience in their brewing fields, says a Molson Coors spokesman.

Aspall, which also produces vinegars, operates from a single site in the tiny hamlet of Aspall, near Debeham, where the Chevallier family first planted the orchards at Aspall Hall for its cider. Members of the family will remain part of the business and will play a key role in ensuring Aspall remains in the county, he said today.

Using its expertise in marketing, distribution and logistics, Molson Coors hopes to grow the business in the UK and around the world by investing in the operation, he added.

Molson Coors will be investing in Aspall’s Suffolk operation, helping further the founding family’s ambition to redefine the cider category by giving more consumers the opportunity to taste and develop an appreciation for the cider.

Volume of cider sales at Aspall grew by 10 per cent in 2016.

Molson Coors is now adding to its portfolio of cider production. In Burton, it also brews Worthington Bitter and Red and White Shield, Cobra Beer as well as Carling, Coors, and Sharp’s.

Barry and Henry Chevallier Guild of Aspall Cyder Limited

Phil Whitehead, managing director of Molson Coors, said: "We’re delighted to add Aspall to the Molson Coors portfolio. Both companies share a similar history that is deeply rooted in family, dedication to customers and a commitment to excellence.

"The Chevallier's have been producing Cyder for almost 300 years and its range of brands enhances our existing portfolio.

"We’re now looking forward to helping Aspall become the number one premium cider in the UK and building on the huge potential of the Aspall vinegars, as part of an ongoing strategy to premiumise our portfolio."

Barry Chevallier Guild, Aspall chairman, said: "This is an important milestone in Aspall’s long history and a proud day for everyone involved with the company.

"Having been in close discussions with Molson Coors for more than a year, we were delighted to find that they share our rich heritage, passion for making quality cider and vision for the future development of Aspall and its people.

"Molson Coors is known for respecting the provenance of local brands it has acquired in the past, and has the scale and expertise to accelerate our growth in the premium cider category in the UK and beyond.

Molson Coors in Burton

"There is a real opportunity to elevate and grow the status of English cider in the UK and abroad both as a beverage and as an excellent partner for food. We believe that Molson Coors investment will provide the catalyst to grow Aspall and build the recognition for quality cider worldwide."

Aspall will operate as part of Molson Coors UK & Ireland, within the Molson Coors European business unit and will continue to press, ferment, keg and bottle at the Cider House in Aspall, Suffolk.

Molson Coors brands in the UK

Coors Light
Blue Moon
Miller Genuine Draft
Franciscan Well
Worthington’s White Shield
Doom Bar
Sea Fury
Wolf Rock
Sharp’s Pilsner
Orchard Cider
Connoisseurs Choice
Bavaria Premium
Bavaria 0.0%
8.6 Hollandia
Holland Import