County: Co. Armagh
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Armagh Cider Company is owned by Philip and Helen Troughton of Ballinteggart House, outside Portadown. The Troughton family have been growing apples there for four generations since 1898, though the family farm has also been home to a hugely successful sport horse breeding and stud business for over 20 years.
Philip’s father, ‘TG’ Troughton, had often talked about starting up his own cider business, but never got around to it, concentrating instead on the then healthy market for fresh cooking apples to the retail trade and his contract to supply apples to a large commercial cider maker.
There is a history of cider making in Northern Ireland. In 1682, the Rev W Brooke wrote from Portadown that cider was being sold at 30 shillings a barrel and that some people were making 20 to 30 barrels per season. In fact King William sent his cider maker to Portadown to make cider for his army!
In recent years, the market for apples in Ireland has changed beyond all recognition, becoming much more commodity driven, with the inherent loss of margin that entails. Given these factors, Philip and Helen revisited the long-held idea of making their own top quality, hand-crafted cider that would outshine in terms of taste and quality its mass-produced rivals and appeal to discerning drinkers looking for something more authentic and naturally flavoursome.
While we knew we had a great raw ingredient – our own apples – we initially didn’t know much about cider making, so enlisted the services of master cider maker Keith Knight in England, who used Ballinteggart apples and worked closely with us to produce our own bespoke cider.
The first cider from Armagh Cider Company was introduced to the market in January 2006 as ‘Carsons Cider’, but the company has evolved over the past four years and its product range has been substantially enhanced in response to consumer demand
Armagh Cider Company Ciders are available via mail order, please click here for details.
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