Fuller's outlines long-term cider vision
Fuller's has outlined long-term plans to build distribution for cider maker Cornish Orchards which it has bought for £3.8 million.
The West London brewer has bought the cider company, based in Duloe in Cornwall, to join the likes of Carlsberg, AB-Inbev, Molson Coors, Hog's Back and St Austell, who have all tried to cash in on burgeoning popularity of cider by bringing out their own contract-made brands.
But publicly-owned Fuller's has gone a step further by buying a cider producer outright.
Ian Bray, managing director of the Fuller's beer division, told OLN: "We have carried out a strategic review of our business to identify gaps in the portfolio and an obvious one was cider.
"But we wanted to buy something with proper heritage rather than just invent anew brand."
The cider producer's main brand is Cornish Gold, and it makes a range of bottled apple and pear ciders, alcoholic ginger beer, apple juice and other soft drinks.
Cornish Orchards was founded by dairy farmer Andy Atkinson, who planted orchards on Westnorth Manor Farm where the business presses, blends and bottles its products after taking over the property in 1992. Atkinson will continue to run the business under Fuller's ownership.
Distribution is mainly in Cornwall but Bray said Fuller's saw potential for national growth.
"The big difference we'll see over a period of time is investment in expanding capacity and that will allow us to take the brand into all our other trade channels," said Bray.
"Cornish Orchards has already invested in an impressive new bottling facility and a lot will depend on how much extra capacity we can get in and how quickly.
"The attraction for is in Cornish Orchards was that it makes high quality cider, it has a long-term focus and similar values to us in quality, integrity and pride. We were also very impressed with Andy Atkinson and the job he has done already."
Fuller's has also plugged another gap in its portfolio with the launch of Frontier lager, initially on draught for the on-trade.