Northern Ireland

Irish drinks group buys US cider brand

The Irish drinks group which owns Magners cider has bought the US cider brand Hornsby's.

C&C bought the brand from the Gallo Winery and will pay between £14m and £17.1m in cash, depending on the performance of the business in the coming months.

The US is a key market for C&C, where sales grew 38% in the year to February, compared to 3.6% in the UK.

C&C expects Magners volumes to grow by 20% in the United States in the current financial year.

The deal will give C&C around 20% of US cider sales that total around 400,000 to 500,000 hectolitres per year.

The group sold around 2.37 million hectolitres of cider last year in the United Kingdom.

Hornsby's is primarily sold in shops on the west coast of the United States, while Magners is primarily sold in bars and restaurants on the east coast, C&C said.

"The transaction more than doubles our volume in a growing market; broadens the scope of our cider portfolio; and, presents significant opportunity to develop the Hornsby's brand throughout North America," C&C Chief Executive Officer Stephen Glancey said in a statement.