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Pabst Brewing Will Market Vermont Hard Cider, With Option To Buy Company

Middlebury’s Vermont Hard Cider Company is entering into a partnership with the Pabst Brewing Company.

The agreement includes an option for Pabst, the country's largest privately owned brewery, to buy the Vermont company.

Pabst has more than 30 brands of beer, including its signature Blue Ribbon label.

Under the agreement, Pabst will have exclusive rights to the sale and distribution of Vermont Hard Cider’s products, including Woodchuck, which is the second largest cider brand in America.

Vermont Hard Cider CEO Dan Rowell says the agreement gives his company access to a sales and marketing division that is 5 or 6 times larger than it has currently. Rowell says hard cider sales are just over 1 percent of beer sales and many believe the hard cider market can triple in the next several years.

Rowell says individuals who work in sales and marketing for the company will now be employed by Pabst but will stay in Vermont.

Under the agreement, Pabst has an option to acquire Vermont Hard Cider from its current owner, C&C Group, based in Ireland. Rowell says if that happens, he’s confident Vermont Hard Cider will not be moved out of state.

“They’re placing the management of their marketing and sales organizations here at the cidery. They’ve been incredibly impressed with our people [and] our facility, so I think the chances are pretty remote,” says Rowell.

Vermont Hard Cider employs about 100 people in Vermont. The agreement between Vermont Hard Cider and Pabst will take effect March 1, 2016.

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