Is this the bitter end for beer as cider starts to rule?

Article from Courier Mail.

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 tipple.

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 market.

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 ciders.

"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."

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