Cider firm restructures and invests in production as demand grows
GROWING demand for Aspall cider has prompted the Suffolk-based producer to restructure its management team and expand production facilities.
Commercial director Geoff Bradman and finance director Des Smith have been promoted to the role of joint managing director, responsible for driving the business forward under chairman Barry Chevallier Guild, whose family has owned and run the business for eight generations. Henry Chevallier Guild remains on the Aspall board but has ended his day-to-day involvement in the business to focus on the Chevallier Brewing Company, which he set up last year to develop and source premium beer products such as Suffolk Blonde and Little Creatures.
As part of the restructure, Aspall has established a new ‘cross functional’ executive team and created a number of new roles.
Clive Maskell will join the business shortly as head of finance, and Paul Walker has been appointed commercial manager to head the development of Aspall’s recently-relaunched vinegar range. John Hadingham has moved to the role of on-trade commercial manager to focus on bartender training and education, while John Bennett has joined Aspall as business development manager.
Aspall is also continuing to invest in its plant, having earmarked a claimed £4 million for equipment over the next two to three years. This includes £750,000 recently spent a new vinegar bottling line and cider fermentation and storage tanks; projects to improve fruit management and pressing are also underway.
The company also confirmed it has moved its warehousing and distribution functions to DHL to cope with the increased volumes and has launched a new online shop (www.aspallshop.co.uk) for consumers.
Chairman Barry Chevallier Guild said the changes are designed to prepare the firm for the next stage of its growth strategy following a 40% rise in sales volumes of its products in the last year.
“Aspall has experienced phenomenal growth over the past few years,” he said. “Our new structure and significant investments in people and production facilities ensure we are able to keep pace with this growth and to lead the premium cider and vinegar markets. Realigning responsibilities within the business ensures we have the right people doing the right jobs in order to properly manage our growth strategy. While carrying out the operational projects and investments into the plant we have had to be particularly mindful due to the number of grade I listed buildings on our site, many of which date back to 1728 when Aspall first started producing cider. Quality, heritage and integrity are fundamental to the business and this investment programme enables us to continue providing the finest quality products available while demonstrating our commitment to maintaining our strong family values.”
(Images: Geoff Bradman (top right) and Des Smith (bottom right) have been appointed joint managing directors.)