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Armagh Bramley Apple cider: Northern Ireland’s champagne?

Armagh Cider Company is celebrating a supply deal with Tesco Northern Ireland, having landed a listing for three of its bottled ciders.

The small family business uses hand picked Armagh Bramley Apples grown in its own orchards, which are located between Portadown & Armagh and they are the only producer in Northern Ireland that goes ‘from blossom to bottle’.

Since the Armagh Bramley Apple recently received PGI status, similarities have been drawn with the grapes used to make Champagne.

The new Tesco product listing couldn’t be better timed, as it includes the festively spiced Mollys Mulled Cider, which is a perfect winter warmer.

Helen and Philip Troughton, owners of Armagh Cider Company, are delighted with the deal.  Helen said, “People may know us from food festivals and craft fairs, where we have been sampling and selling for years.   This listing with Tesco will provide us with unrivalled exposure, not only on shelf, but through their local marketing and events.  We have had a stand at the Tesco Taste NI food festival and people were constantly asking: where can we get the product?  We’re delighted to be able to tell all of them, we’re here – and just in time for the party season!”

Every year, Philip’s orchards of 80 acres, which have been nurtured by the family in Ballinteggart for over 100 years, produces up to 1000 tonnes of apples.  These are first pressed to produce apple juice in a traditional rack and cloth press, which, although labour-intensive by comparison with an automated press, produces a superior quality juice with more texture and flavour than mass-produced juices.

This juice is then made into cider and bottled on the farm.  The two bottled ciders being stocked in Tesco are Carsons Crisp and the slightly sweeter Maddens Mellow. Both are produced exclusively on the farm from the fresh pressed apples and contain no artificial colours, flavours or ingredients and are together winners of gold, silver and bronze medals in the International Cider Challenge.  Mollys Mulled Cider is named after Philip’s beloved Aunt Molly, who traditionally prepared this as a hot treat on Christmas Day, using a secret family spice blend.

Stephen Murphy, Tesco NI Buying Manager said, “We have been talking to Armagh Cider Company about supplying Tesco for some time so we’re delighted to see them coming on shelf.  As a buying team in Northern Ireland, we are always looking out for small local companies producing something fantastic, which we think our customers will love – and Armagh Cider Company is doing just that.   It’s important for artisan producers to maintain the integrity of their product and continue using the processes that make them so popular – you can really taste 100 years of nurture and expertise with these ciders.   Massive congratulations to the Troughtons.”

For more information on local Northern Ireland products at Tesco, follow on www.facebook.com/tastenorthernireland

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