Business Irish

Tuesday 22 January 2019

C&C to take charge of American brands again

Bulmers cider
Bulmers cider
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Bulmers-maker C&C has agreed to terminate its US distribution arrangement for its cider with Pabst Brewing, with its own subsidiary resuming responsibility for the role from April.

C&C's partnership with Pabst in the UK will continue, however. The Irish drinks maker said its wholly-owned Vermont Hard Cider Company unit will resume full responsibility for the sales and marketing of C&C's portfolio of cider brands in the United States, including Woodchuck, Wyders and Magners.

C&C markets Bulmers as Magners outside Ireland.

C&C has had a hugely challenging time in the US cider market.

In 2012 it paid $305m (€247m) for the Vermont Hard Cider Company (VTHCC), which at the time was making annual profits of $10m and had net assets of $10m.

Last year, C&C slashed €129m from the value of the Vermont Hard Cider Company, and following other write-downs and exceptional items, it has all but written off its entire US operations.

C&C handed over responsibility for distribution of its US portfolio to Pabst in 2016.Pabst also had an option to acquire C&C's US cider brands and related assets, subject to regulatory approvals.

But C&C CEO Stephen Glancey said last year that there was little chance of Pabst exercising that option given the sharp decline in sales.

"Both parties recognise that current market dynamics require a different approach that concentrates on VTHCC's core markets," the company said yesterday.

"The transition will be effected by selected sales and marketing personnel returning from Pabst, supplemented by a small number of external hires," it added.

"Changes to the distributor network are expected to be limited. C&C's partnership with Pabst in the UK will continue."

C&C also owns brands including Tennent's, Blackthorn, Finches, and Tipperary.

Irish Independent

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