Is this the bitter end for beer as cider starts to rule?
Queensland's hard-drinking, beer and Bundy image is under siege
- thanks to a drink made from apples.
Years ago, cider was not really considered to be a proper drink
in Queensland bars, rather something consumed by occasional
imbibers or fringe dwellers who couldn't handle a full-strength
schooner of XXXX, or a decent shot of Bundaberg's finest
But the popularity of this silent menace is growing, and
changing the state's drinking habits at the same time.
What's more, some of Brisbane's pubs are embracing the growing
cider market with gusto and not only opening cider bars but even
putting the stuff on tap.
Carlton United Breweries Queensland general manager Cameron
Levick said the rise of the apple brew in the state had been
phenomenal in the past three years.
"Several years ago, few would touch the stuff," Mr Levick said.
"But today it is one of the strongest growing sectors in the
alcoholic beverage sector."The latest ACNielsen figures indicated
that the Queensland cider market was worth an impressive $35
million in September - and growing.
Mr Levick estimates the market is growing at about 80 per cent a
year, and represents a real threat to sections of the beer
The tap market is particularly strong, with publican Mark
Lassman of the Orient Hotel producing a cider menu, matching the
apple drink with food. Across the river, the Chalk Hotel has
recently opened a dedicated cider bar.
The lion's share of the market is still the old Strongbow Cider,
but today there are also boutique low-carb ciders, mid-strength
ciders, boutique ciders such as "Dirty Granny" and flavoured
"Cider as a category is quite unisex," Mr Levick said.
"And the drink also does not have a lot of baggage.
"You mention a Bundy or a tequila and people sometimes go
'ouch', thinking back to bad experiences years ago whereas cider
does not have that."
He said cider looked exactly the same as a beer in a glass and
was certainly encroaching on the beer market: "Total alcohol
consumption is falling and beer is certainly falling but cider is
defying the trend and it is growing very strongly."