A major brewery has bought a successful cidery.
The Goose Island Beer Company of Chicago and Virtue Cider Company of Fennville, Michigan, announced a partnership last week in which Goose Island will become the majority shareholder in the cider company.
Virtue founders Gregory Hall and Stephen Schmakel will hold on to their creative and operational leadership roles. The cider business will utilize facilities at Goose Island’s Fulton Street brewery for production needs – including bottling and packaging.
“With the support of Goose Island, we will expand production capabilities and distribution opportunities to enable further sharing of our award winning craft ciders,” said Hall, a former Goose Island brewmaster, in a press release.
Since its inception in 2011, Virtue Cider has created a portfolio of European-style craft ciders. This includes their flagship brand Red Streak and The Mitten, one of six traditional farmhouse blends that Virtue ages in one of the largest barrel programs in North American cider, the company says.
Virtue Cider sold approximately 15,500 cases of cider in 2014, according to the company, with Red Streak accounting for 34% of total production.
“We’re excited to welcome Greg Hall back into the Goose Island family,” said Ken Stout, General Manager, Goose Island. “With our combined resources, we look forward to innovating and growing the business together.”
Goose Island was bought by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2011.