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Pabst To Distribute Vermont Hard Cider, With Option To Acquire

December 11, 2015

Pabst Brewing Co. continues to build its portfolio, striking a partnership to distribute the brands of Vermont Hard Cider (VHC) in the U.S., effective next March. Under the deal, Pabst will have exclusive license to distribute, market and sell VHC’s Woodchuck, Gumption, Wyder’s and Hornsby’s domestic labels, as well as imports Magners and Blackthorn. In addition, Pabst has the option to acquire VHC’s U.S.-produced brands from current owner C&C Group, which purchased then-independent VHC for $305 million in 2012.

According to Impact Databank, the Vermont Hard Cider portfolio was down 16% to 3.4 million cases in the U.S. market last year, amidst intense competition from the likes of Boston Beer’s Angry Orchard and other ascendant brands. This year, VHC has seen a bright spot in its Gumption label, which has risen to become its second-largest offering since debuting in February, selling 200,000 cases.

Owned by Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings—a partnership between San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners and entrepreneur Eugene Kashper— since last fall, Pabst has moved quickly to augment its brand stable, which is led by Pabst Blue Ribbon and totals more than 5.5 million barrels. The company now also distributes Small Town Brewery’s Not Your Father’s Root Beer, and has relaunched classic beer labels Ballantine IPA and Ballantine Burton Ale.

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