Goose Island Beer Company of Chicago and Virtue Cider Company of Fennville, Michigan, announced a partnership in which Goose Island will become the majority shareholder in Virtue Cider. Founders Gregory Hall and Stephen Schmakel will continue to be the creative and operational team behind the business and will continue producing Virtue Cider in Fennville. Virtue will utilize the facilities at Goose Island’s Fulton Street brewery for packaging needs – including bottling and kegging, and as a hub for increased distribution.
“Since we started Virtue Cider in 2011, we’ve committed ourselves to producing traditional European-style Farmhouse ciders using Michigan apples pressed at our farm in Fennville,” said Gregory Hall, Virtue Cider founder. “The partnership with Goose Island will give Virtue access to high speed bottling and kegging at the Fulton Street Brewery, and the resources to expand production and distribution. We will get our ciders in the hands of more cider drinkers.”
Since its inception in 2011, Virtue Cider has created a portfolio of barrel aged craft ciders, including their flagship brand RedStreak, a proper English style cider and The Mitten, a bourbon barrel aged cider. Virtue has more than 700 oak barrels in Fennville, including French oak, American oak and bourbon barrels. They operate a bottle shop at Virtue Farm in Fennville, where drinkers can tour the cider house and get a tasting of all the ciders.
“We’re excited to welcome Greg Hall back into the Goose Island family,” said Ken Stout, General Manager, Goose Island. “Virtue Cider produces amazing barrel aged ciders and with our combined resources we look forward to innovating and growing the business together.”
Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
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