VICTOR, N.Y. (AP) ¿ Constellation Brands Inc., a wine, beer and liquor company, said Monday that it will sell its cider operations to Ireland's C&C Group PLC for about $70 million.

Constellation said that it was selling the Gaymer Cider Co. because it is now concentrating more on its higher-margin brands. The sale to C&C, which is based in Dublin, Ireland, includes cider brands such as Blackthorn Cider, Gaymers Original and Pear Cider, Addlestones and Olde English Cider. C&C will also get a production plant as well as associated warehouses and distribution plants.

Constellation, which makes Robert Mondavi wine, said it plans to use funds from the sale to lower its borrowings.

Earlier this month Constellation said it was considering a deal to sell some of its assets or combine part of its Australian and U.K. wine operations with Australian Vintage Ltd., an Australian wine company.

The sale to C&C Group is targeted to close by the middle of January 2010.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.