Birmingham-based Aston Manor was created in 1983 by the Ellis family, and is now the second leading player on the British cider scene. Its brands include Kingstone Press, Frosty Jack’s and Knights as well as creating own-label products for British retailers.
Agrial’s beverage division is the leading player in the French cider market. With a presence already established in the US it is pursuing international expansion: and the acquisition of Aston Manor allows it to expand operations into Great Britain, the largest cider market in the world.
With 300 employees, Aston Manor has four production sites in Stourport (close to Worcester), Witton and Aston (Birmingham) and Tiverton (close to Exeter). In 2017, Aston Manor booked turnover of £134m ($173m) and exported its products to more than 20 countries around the globe.
Gordon Johncox, chief executive of Aston Manor, said: “Aston Manor was looking for a partner that would allow us to continue the growth and development underway now for several years. The fact that Agrial is a cooperative was also a deciding factor for us, because we can be sure of choosing a company with similar values.”
Agrial’s Beverage Division Eclor leads the French cider market, namely owing to its Ecusson, Loïc Raison and La Mordue cider brands. It is also present on the American market with its Manzana and Seattle Cider companies. With 800 employees, including 100 in the US, Eclor has made international development its priority as part of Agrial’s “Horizon 2025” strategy.
Marc Roubaud, managing director, Eclor, said: “It was crucial to significantly strengthen our international presence on the cider market by gaining a foothold in the world’s leading market, which is comparable to ours and our members’ orchards.”