Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to get a personal tour of the Armagh Cider Company by one of the owners, Philip Troughton. While the Troughton family business has been growing apples since 1898, they only began commercially producing cider in 2006.
While we managed to get lost on our way to the apple orchard, we were quickly welcomed and given an extensive tour of their facilities. The tour went in the order of the company’s clever slogan, “from blossom to bottle.” So of course, we had to start with the apple trees.
The apple orchard itself was a beautiful, vivid green, which stretched farther than I could see. We were shown the different types of apples before moving inside. Philip then showed us where they press the apples for the juice, along with where the cider is bottled and pasteurized. He seemingly hid nothing as he so kindly described each step of the cider or juice-making process, and allowed us to interview him and snap as many pictures as we pleased.
He then surprised us with the other jobs the company also does, including making rosettes (large prize ribbons), and sport horse breeding. We were given the chance to see the horses, along with the few friendly dogs that run free around the company grounds.
Philip then offered us a taste testing of both their different types of cider, and their apple juice, both of which we thoroughly enjoyed.
With a more natural production than I am used to seeing, I was impressed by their ideologies and methods. On top of that, the hospitality and good humour of the staff helped provide me with such a wonderful experience. The small company is proof that dedication and traditional business values are not lost, and that it’s quality, not quantity that matters the most.