This isn’t mass produced cider made from reconstituted juice concentrate. This is real fresh-juice Irish cider, an expressive reflection of the Emerald Isle’s soft, green climate, generous soils and relishable personality. Orpens is full of zip, smile and sense of place, it’s unmistakably Irish crafted by a fanatical bunch.
Bruce Jack, Matthew Tindal, Chris Hill and James Cullinan constitute the team behind Orpens Cider. Arriving at this union through the drinks business, Matt and Chris have a family history of growing apple orchards and had spent decades working in the Irish wine trade. Eager to stand behind an Irish product, and reconciled to the reality that Ireland wouldn’t be producing any world-class vineyards in the near future, they took a deeper interest in their apple orchard heritage with an eye to creating an Irish cider with the pedigree of a great wine.
They had a largess of premium apples and a comprehensive knowledge of the drinks industry. What they needed was someone to handle the production of cider.
Now many of you might only know Bruce as the charismatic, maverick winemaker who has a tome of stories for every occasion, but he’s also a cider maker of some distinction. Bruce’s great-grandfather was one of the first to plant cider apples in South Africa and was himself a cider maker. Bruce has been crafting cider in the traditional Jack family way for several years under the label, “James Mitchell’s Gone Fishing Cider.”
Orpens approach cider making with the same careful devotion as winemaking. It’s packaged like a beer, produced like a wine. This gives Orpens its distinctive character, a representation of the land and an essence from whence it came.
By the time Matt, Chris and Bruce met in the spring of 2011 the trio were primed to craft remarkable cider and in the summer of 2012 Orpens Cider was released onto the Irish Market. Not shy of a good drop, Ireland has revelled in Orpens’ non-conformist look and feel, transparent values and quality based approach to produce a cleaner, fresher product.
Now it’s South Africa’s turn to enjoy real Irish cider.