Constellation cuts its cider connection

Constellation Brands has sold off a 240-year-old English cidermaker.

Constellation, headquartered in Victor, NY, near Rochester, completed the sale of its Gaymer Cider Company to the C&C Group of Dublin, Ireland, for about US$80 million.

The C&C Group is best known for producing Magners cider and the lager brand Tennents.

Total cider volumes fell by 15% in the UK over the past three months. A C&C spokesman said business conditions in its core cider markets are "challenging."

The C&C Group’s longtime core brand was Bulmers Cider, but it held brand rights only in Ireland. Thus, it had to develop a new brand to launch outside its home market. The Magners brand was introduced for this purpose in 1999.

C&C acquired the Tennents brand and Wellpark Brewery in August 2009 from brewing giant Inbev, now Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Constellation Brands is the leading producer of premium wines in the world, with a portfolio that includes spirits, imported beers and other select beverage alcohol products. It is the largest premium wine company in the U.S., the largest wine company in the UK, Australia and Canada, the second largest wine company in New Zealand, and the largest beer importer and marketer in the U.S. through its Crown Imports joint venture with Mexico's Grupo Modelo.

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