Hailey Neil enjoys a refreshing bottle of cider, her drink of choice and one becoming more popular in Australia.
Hailey Neil enjoys a refreshing bottle of cider, her drink of choice and one becoming more popular in Australia. Chris Ison

She's apples with crisp cider

ONCE regarded as beer's uncool relative, it seems Rockhampton drinkers are finally discovering what Hailey Neil has always known about cider.

The long-time cider drinker said it was her family's beverage of choice when she grew up in Tasmania.

Refreshing, but without the full sensation from drinking beer, Hailey said cider was the perfect drink.

And when she moved to Rockhampton and met the man who was to become her husband she introduced him and her new friends to her beloved beverage.

"My husband drank it, my entire bridal party did," Hailey said.

According to Carlton United Brewers, the producers of Bulmers, Strongbow and Mercury ciders, Rocky drinkers were among the biggest adopters of cider in the state.

CUB Queensland general manager Cameron Levick said there was a 22% increase in cider sales in Rockhampton in 2011.

He said the terrific tipple was delicious served over ice, making it perfect for hot and sunny Rockhampton days.

"So, it's not surprising it's a big hit with the drinkers," Cameron said.

"While cider is unlikely to ever overtake beer in the popularity stakes among Rockhampton drinkers, the fact that draught cider has grown by over 22% in the city in just 12 months is incredible."

He said it was a drink that had unisex appeal.

"The variety of flavours on offer, and it's on tap, makes it equally popular with men and women of all ages," he said.

Hailey said she believed cider's rise in popularity was also because people were becoming more adventurous with their beverages.

And with CUB releasing a black currant-flavoured cider soon it will give drinkers even more options.



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