Pabst Brewing Company (“PBC”) announced an exclusive long-term partnership agreement (“Partnership”) with Vermont Hard Cider Company (“Vermont”), an American manufacturer, marketer and importer of cider, and a subsidiary of C&C Group plc, for the sale and distribution of Vermont’s cider brands within the United States. The agreement between Vermont and PBC will take effect March 1, 2016.

Under the terms of the Partnership, PBC will have an exclusive license to distribute, market and sell all of Vermont’s cider brands in the U.S., including premium craft cider brands Woodchuck, Gumption, Wyder’s and Hornsby’s (“U.S. Cider Brands”), in addition to Vermont's portfolio of authentic imported cider brands from Ireland and England, including Magners and Blackthorn (“International Cider Brands”).

PBC's field sales and national accounts organizations will be responsible for sales of the Vermont portfolio to distributors and retailers in the United States. Vermont's sales and marketing organization will continue to operate as an independent business unit focused on marketing activation and driving the performance of the Vermont brands. PBC has proven expertise in successfully launching and scaling brands in the U.S. market, including building its flagship Pabst Blue Ribbon into a leading beer brand, and more recently, leading the highly successful national rollout of Small Town Brewery's Not Your Father’s Root Beer.

“We are honored to add Vermont's great ciders to our portfolio” said Eugene Kashper, Chairman and CEO of Pabst Brewing Company. "This partnership is another key milestone as we look to collaborate with independent brand owners to build a best-in-class portfolio of craft and import brands. We are thrilled to be working with the team in Vermont and I am confident that together we will be able to return these rich heritage brands to growth."

Vermont will retain full ownership of its U.S. Cider Brands and related assets, including the cidery in Middlebury, Vermont – America’s largest facility dedicated to cider production; and the distribution rights for the U.S. Cider Brands in all markets outside the U.S.

The Partnership substantially strengthens Vermont’s route to market in the U.S. by leveraging PBC's extensive distribution network and sales platform. The overlap in Vermont's and PBC's distribution networks, combined with PBC's proven marketing activation capabilities, will allow for a smooth integration effort.

Vermont Vice President of Sales, Terry Hopper stated, “This partnership will bring together iconic American brands and will insure Vermont’s great products get the support they deserve. PBC's team has the experience and passion to grow our brands and to help expand the cider category as a whole. You will see the same level of customer service, category expertise, and even more day to day activity in the marketplace. It is important to note that the making of our domestic ciders will remain in Vermont and that our team of cider makers will continue their commitment to quality and innovation.”