Merrydown is to stop manufacturing its own cider and soft drinks with the closure of its factory at Horam, East Sussex. The decision will end nearly 50 years of cider production at the company and cost more than 30 jobs.
Two years of buoyant sales growth has persuaded Merrydown to contract out production and focus on managing its brands.
Although best known for its traditional cider, Merrydown also owns the soft drink brand Schloer, which accounts for more than 70% of turnover. Production of Schloer will be switched to its current co-packers, Devon-based brewers Thomas Hardy in Tiverton and Hall & Woodhouse in Blandford St Mary.
Merrydown is also in advanced talks with three cidermakers to take over production and bottling.
Md Chris Carr said: "We have always used other third party manufacturers to produce a proportion of our brands. Increasing sales volumes and new packaging formats have meant the quantities we sub-contract have grown considerably over the last two years."
Production at Horam will cease by the end of the year and Merrydown's offices will move to Reigate in Surrey.
In the year to March 31 2004 the company increased pre-tax profit by 26% year on year to £1.7m .