Aspall cider's £10m factory upgrade after drinks giant takeover
PUBLISHED: 16:44 25 June 2019
Celebrated cider maker Aspall has kicked off a £10m project to upgrade its historic factory site at Debenham a year and a half after it was bought by drinks giant Molson Coors.
Aspall's longest serving employees, workshop manager Alan Chittock, lab technician Lorrie Howe, and bottling operative Rob Farrow - who between them have almost 100 years' service at the company - kicked off building work on the cider maker's historic Debenham site.
They were joined at the ground-breaking ceremony by Aspall general manager Dale Scott, and brothers Henry and Barry Chevallier Guild, whose family has produced cider on the site for almost 300 years.
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Molson Coors acquired the family-owned company in January 2018, and together with the Chevallier Guild family pledged to create a sustainable future for the business and secure local jobs.
Works include constructing a new process building, adding a sub-station, relocating some existing storage tanks and adding new ones, and building new concrete pads, all within the existing site footprint.
General manager Dale Scott said the company had "a unique and exciting opportunity" to continue the founding family's vision to grow the status and sales of English cider.
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"The building work we're commencing here today will give our team of cyder makers here at Aspall even better tools to make our amazing cyders and vinegars with and will increase capacity to meet growing demand for Aspall products in the UK and abroad," he said.
Mr Chittock, who has worked at Aspall for 34 years, said: "It is an honour to be part of this major milestone in the company's long and successful history. We're really investing in modernising our site and increasing our production capacity so we can make more of our world class cyders and vinegars."
The business said it was trying to minimise disruption to local residents and keep them up to date with developments.
The site already has a new weighbridge, which is reducing traffic in the area, and the vinegar barn facilities have been renovated. Cider and vinegar production equipment, including bottle fillers and labellers, have been upgraded.
A programme of planting of screening trees to the north side of site will in time provide a softer view for neighbours. Towards the end of 2019, work is due to start on an effluent plant to improve waste management and further reduce vehicle movements in the local area.
The improvement programme is set to be completed by the end of 2020.