Fifth generation apple grower takes the taste of Armagh's orchards to Europe

Greg MacNeice holding a box of apples
Published : 01 Jul 2016

A fifth generation apple grower who is continuing his family's tradition is taking the flavours of Armagh's famous orchards to Europe following a major distribution deal.

Greg MacNeice, National Trust tenant farmer, whose family planted their first apple orchard at Ardress in 1855, said the new deal will see Mac Ivors Traditional Dry and Medium ciders distributed throughout Italy.

Mr MacNeice, an Irish craft cider producer who already supplies cider into the Danish market, said the crisp, refreshing Mac Ivors ciders are becoming increasingly popular in cities and towns across Europe.

And, with America firmly in its sights for the summer, Mr MacNeice said a new generation of consumers are embracing great tasting ciders which are quality, full of character and full of heritage.

Mac Ivors plum and ginger cider

Announcing the distribution deal at the launch of latest cider, Mac Ivors Plum and Ginger, Mr MacNeice said: ‘I am delighted to announce we have struck a deal with a major distributor in Rome which will greatly expand our export sales in Europe.

‘This is a very encouraging development for a County Armagh product securing its place in the international marketplace. The interest in Mac Ivors Traditional Dry and Medium Ciders is increasing because Europe is fast becoming a market for premium Irish ciders.

‘Mac Ivors is committed to crafting high quality and great tasting cider and demand is showing a new generation of consumers in Europe and America who want to drink ciders which are of high quality and full of heritage.  

‘All of our ciders, including our latest cider, Plum and Ginger, are produced here at our orchards which date back to 1855. We currently employ six full time staff at our orchards at Ardress and we are hopeful the distributor deal will dramatically increase our sales in Europe which will lead to further job creation here in County Armagh.’

The family owned and managed company has won a series of national and international awards for its products including a gold medal and overall Champion Cider at the 2015 International Brewing Awards. In the past four years, Mac Ivors Cider Co has produced 420,000 litres which is just shy of one million bottles.

Describing the company's latest innovative cider, Mr MacNeice said: ‘Mac Ivors Plum and Ginger cider is the outcome of our continued commitment to create deliciously different ciders to provide new taste experiences.

‘We decided to pair plum and ginger with our refreshing apple cider. The plum provides a rounded, fruity flavour while the ginger adds a subtle amount of heat to the finish. The cider is rosé in colour with delicate bubbles which make it a perfect spring-summer tipple.

‘We taste tested Mac Ivors Plum and Ginger at major industry festivals in Dublin and Belfast and we are immensely encouraged by the positive feedback from both male and female cider fans.

‘We are very excited to be bringing the taste of Ireland's orchard county to Irish bars and to bars which specialise in craft beers, ciders and spirits. We firmly believe Mac Ivors will tantalise the taste buds of this new generation of cider drinkers, not only here in Ireland, north and south, but across Europe and in America.’