US soft drinks manufacturer Reed’s has penned a deal with Somerset Cider Solutions for the Bristol manufacturer to produce its Virgil’s line of sodas for the UK market.
The Connecticut-headquartered company said the agreement would provide “a cost-effective way to produce Virgil’s sodas close to the market”, a factor it said would “ultimately lead to significant growth for the company”.
Somerset Cider will produce Virgil’s Root Beer, Virgil’s Black Cherry, Virgil’s Vanilla Cream Soda, and Virgil’s Orange Cream Soda.
Empire Bespoke Foods will continue to act as the distributor for Virgil’s sodas in the UK, Reed’s added.
Norman Snyder, CEO of Reed’s, said working with Somerset Cider Solutions and Empire Bespoke Foods would “write a whole new chapter for Virgil’s in the UK”.
He added: “The UK has been a very strong market for our classic, bold flavors of Virgil’s sodas. However, as a result of inflationary pressures, pricing to consumers has increased disproportionately within the market segment.”
Reed’s plans to introduce similar production models in the EU and Asia in the future.
“This new model will get us to market much more efficiently, allow us to be more price competitive, and position the brand for further expansion,” Snyder added. “We also anticipate leveraging this production model in the EU in the near term and in Asia later in 2023 or 2024.”
Established in 1989, Reed’s is a publicly-listed company and the producer of a ginger beer of the same name. In the year ended 31 December 2022, the company reported revenues of $15m, an increase of 18% on the year prior.
In addition to its ownership of the Reed’s and Virgil’s brands, the company also owns Flying Cauldron, a butterscotch-flavoured non-alcoholic beer inspired by but not affiliated to the Harry Potter franchise.
Somerset Cider Solutions, meanwhile, is a cider packing house and laboratory based in Bristol in south-west England. The company offers white-label production of ciders, wines and soft drinks, as well as contract packaging to drinks producers in keg, bottle and bag-in-box formats.