Gowling WLG’s global food and drink team has advised Aston Manor, the UK’s largest independent cider producer, on its sale to Agrial Group.

With £134 million turnover for 2017, Aston Manor’s range of brands includes Kingstone Press, Frosty Jack’s and Knights, as well as own-label products for British retailers.

Founded by former Aston Villa chairman, Doug Ellis, Aston Manor is a family-created business, with three generations of the Ellis family involved in the transaction.

Led by Andrew Lawton Smith, the team at Gowling WLG included property partner Phil Clissitt, Paris-based corporate partner Danhoe Reddy-Girard, employment director Anna Fletcher, principal associates Tom Rank and Susannah Fink and corporate associate Rachel Mobberley.

Andrew Lawton Smith said: “Having worked with Aston Manor and the Ellis family for over 20 years, it has been a great pleasure to have played a meaningful part of this very successful journey of responsible and innovative entrepreneurship. The family, the directors and the staff at Aston Manor have built steadily, over 30 years, a fabulous company, wonderful products and a very special team. And then to be able to host the key deal meetings in our Paris office, overlooking L’Opéra, and brilliantly assisted by our French colleagues, was the pièce de résistance!”

This is the largest acquisition that Agrial has done to date and marks a further step in the international expansion of Eclor, Agrial’s Beverage Division, enabling the business to grow and develop across Europe, North America and the Far East. The brand is the leading player in the French cider market.