Helen Troughton (right) from Armagh Cider Company receiving the Authentic NI Experience of the Year Award (Tour, Trail or Immersive) from Tourism NI board member Michelle Shirlow of Food NI (left) at the NI Tourism Awards ceremony at the Archbishop’s Palace in Armagh.

Armagh Cider Company has won the Authentic NI Experience of the Year Award (Tour, Trail or Immersive) for its visitor tours at this year’s Northern Ireland Tourism Awards ceremony.

The award, sponsored by Diageo NI, was presented to Helen Troughton from the family-run business at a special black tie dinner event at the Palace Demesne on Thursday evening (May 30).

This is the first time the annual ceremony has been held in Armagh, with a wide range of local tourism providers attending. The awards ‘recognise and celebrate the industry’s excellence and innovation’ and were hosted by BBC presenter, Jo Scott, with a special Georgian-themed marquee erected in the grounds.

“We’re absolutely delighted to receive this award,” said Helen Troughton, who launched the business with her husband Philip, back in 2006. “It was wonderful just to be shortlisted alongside the other businesses in our category, so winning is the icing on the cake.

“We take great pride in making our tours the very best they can be, giving visitors a true flavour of what we do here at Armagh Cider Company. That’s why we describe our tour as being ‘from blossom to bottle’. We take you on a journey from the very start of the cider-making process, in the orchard, right through to the final stages in the ‘cidery’ and bottling hall. We do everything ourselves on our family farm and are so pleased that people enjoy the touring experience.”

The award-winning Tours of Armagh Cider take place on the family farm at Ballinteggart, based just outside Portadown in Co Armagh, where the Troughton family has been in residence since 1898. Built in 1766, Ballinteggart House is rich with history and many of its stories are woven into the tour to enhance visitors’ overall experience.

Jo Scott praised Armagh Cider Company for the attention to detail in showing visitors the entire cider-making process, from start to finish. She also commended the family business for adding value with its stories, saying the tour was “peppered with tales of Ballinteggart.”

Mark Troughton, director at Armagh Cider Company, said the award was another great achievement for the family-run business, which recently branched out into mixers. The Troughton’s Raising Spirits range was launched successfully at this year’s Balmoral Show.

“We work hard at Armagh Cider Company to create handcrafted products our customers will love and we put the same amount of work into making our tours informative and enjoyable,” he said. “So, it’s great to get this seal of approval of our tours from Tourism Northern Ireland.”