Resurgence Brewing Company Acquires BlackBird Cider Works in New York

Resurgence Brewing Company, a craft brewery based in Buffalo, New York, acquired BlackBird Cider Works from Donovan Orchards, LLC, on June 26, 2023. BlackBird Cider Works, based in New York, United States, produces cider from its own apple orchard. The deal will allow Resurgence to expand its offering while remaining true to its mission of local, high-quality production.

Transaction Summary

The Facts of the Acquisition

  • Target: Black Cider Works, a subsidiary of Donovan Orchards, is based in New York and produces various hard, or alcoholic, apple ciders from apples grown in its own orchards. Donovan Orchards will continue to operate its tasting room, orchard, and juice-pressing operation.
  • Acquirer: Resurgence Brewing Company is a craft brewery based in Buffalo, New York. It has a loyal, local following because of its high quality and variety of craft beer, and destination taproom.

Our Take on the Acquisition

Resurgence’s (acquirer) vision to provide a wide range of craft beverages will be enhanced with the acquisition of BlackBird Cider Works (target) and its range of hard ciders. In addition to serving various craft beers to patrons at its taproom and beer garden, Resurgence will now have access to BlackBird Cider Works’ distribution network. The deal is beneficial to Resurgence since it excludes the apple orchard and tasting room in Baker, New York. Neither the orchard nor the tasting room would benefit Resurgence’s Buffalo-centric business, and excluding both from the deal would have lowered the acquisition costs. 

Did you know? 

Craft breweries are small, independent breweries. They focus on new, quality beer and produce smaller quantities compared with large-scale brewers. Craft brewers produce their own new-style beers alongside new interpretations of traditional beers. 

A brewpub is a cross between a brewery and a restaurant. A taproom is similar – it sells 25% or more of its beer on-site, though it offers few if any food services. According to the Brewers Association, 79% of American adults live within 10 miles of a brewery. 

The Transaction

Date:June 26, 2023
Purpose: To expand and diversify beverage offerings.
Acquirer’s Statement:Jeff Ware, founder and president of Resurgence Brewing Company “We are thrilled to welcome BlackBird Cider Works into the Resurgence Brewing family. Scott [CEO of Donovan Orchards, the parent company of BlackBird Cider Works] and his team grow great apples and make world-class ciders. We share a lot of the same values and think this will be a great fit for our portfolio. Both companies share a passion for high quality, innovation, and a commitment to supporting local communities. This shared dedication to craftsmanship and community makes this acquisition a perfect synergy, allowing both brands to combine strengths and build the brands.

Target/Seller: BlackBird Cider Works

Company Information 

Target:BlackBird Cider Works
Industry: Apple Orchard and Brewery – Cider
Employees:7 (Self-published on LinkedIn)
Locations:Tasting Room and Orchard: 8503 Lower Lake Rd, Baker, New York, United States
Public Cider Bar and Showroom: 155 Chandler Street, Suite 4, Buffalo, New York, United States

Product Information 

Products:Apple Blend Cider – Dry cider produced with a blend of English and American cider apples
Bourbon Barrel Aged Cider – Semi-dry hard apple cider with vanilla and cloves
Double Barrel Aged Cider – Double-fermented, medium dry hard cider with fermented honey notes
Fruit Cider – Medium dry cider with loganberry flavor
Gin Barrel Aged Cider – Semi-dry gin barrel with botanical notes
Pear Cider – Light pear beverage infused with tart cherry
Pumpkin Spiced Cider – Semi-sweet apple cider with autumn spices and ghost pepper
Semi-Sweet Cider – Semi-sweet hard cider with apple aroma
Semi-Dry Cider – Classic American cider, medium dry with a fruity apple aroma.
Market Reach:Northeast United States

Financial Information 

Revenue:USD $1.4 million (Unconfirmed Source: Datanyze, a B2B lead generation firm)
Revenue per Employee:USD $200,000 (i.e., USD $1.4 million / 7 employees = USD $200,000 – estimated based on the self-reported number of employees and revenue from Datanyze)

Target/Seller Overview: BlackBird Cider Works

BlackBird Cider Works was formed in 2011 and is proud to be Niagara County, New York’s sole craft hard cider producer. Nestled on a beautiful farm overlooking Lake Ontario, BlackBird Cider Works produces hard ciders made from apples grown in the company’s own orchard. BlackBird Cider Works’ ciders range from dry to sweet, including some made from certified organic apples. 

Donovan Orchards, the parent company of BlackBird Cider Works, was established in 2006. It owns a 38-acre lakeside apple orchard with the intent of producing European-style ciders. The property is situated along the Lake Ontario fruit belt and overlooks Lake Ontario, the ideal climate for growing tree fruit. Donovan Orchards was an early pioneer in the modern cider renaissance. In addition to commercial fruit-growing operations and cider production, Donovan Orchards has fruit-pressing services.

BlackBird Cider Works’ cider is produced from the orchard, overlooking Lake Ontario, in New York State.
BlackBird Cider Works’ range of hard ciders.

The Basics of Cider

  • What is cider? Cider is a drink with an average alcohol content of 4% to 5% ABV.
  • What’s in a name? In much of the world, “cider” refers to the alcoholic drink. But in North America it refers to fresh apple cider, whereas “hard cider” is the term for the alcoholic drink. 
  • What’s the difference between cider and beer? Made from fermenting apple juice, apple cider is gluten free. Beer, on the other hand, is brewed from grains – a source of gluten – hops, and yeast.

Buyer/Acquirer: Resurgence Brewing Company

Company Information 

Buyer:Resurgence Brewing Company
Industry: Brewery – Craft Beer
Employees:24 (Self-published on LinkedIn)
Locations:Head Office, Brewery, and Taproom: 55 Chicago St, Buffalo, New York, United States
Restaurant and Bar: The Parkside Lodge, 84 Parkside Ave., Buffalo, New York, United States

Product Information 

Products:Ale – Beer brewed using a warm fermentation method, resulting in a sweet, full-bodied, and fruity taste
Craft Beer – Traditional, malt-flavored alcoholic drink made in small batches through yeast fermentation
Hard Seltzer – Seltzer, or carbonated water, mixed with alcohol and fruit flavoring
Hefe – Top-fermented beer brewed with a large proportion of wheat 
IPA – Pale ale with the addition of hops (flower) and malt
Shandy – Beer or cider mixed with a lemon or lemon-lime flavored drink
Stout – Dark, top-fermented beer with a strong alcohol content
Pilsner – Bright, golden color, moderately bitter with a distinct aroma, brewed with malt and hops
Market Reach:New York, United States

Financial Information 

Revenue:Less than USD $5 million (Unconfirmed Source: ZoomInfo)
Revenue per Employee:Up to USD $208,333 (USD $5 million / 24 employees = USD $208,333 – estimated based on the self-published number of employees and the reported revenue from ZoomInfo)

Buyer/Acquirer Overview: Resurgence Brewing Company

Resurgence Brewing Company is a production craft brewery and taproom located at 55 Chicago Street in Buffalo’s Old First Ward. Established in 2014, Resurgence has gained a loyal following for its high-quality beer, innovation, and destination taproom/banquet facility. Resurgence offers creative, high-quality beer and brews just under 5,000 gallons of beer a week. 

Resurgence Brewing’s production center, taproom, and banquet room in Buffalo, New York.
Resurgence Brewing’s line of flavored beers.

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