MORE and more patrons at Dubbo hotels will take a sip of a cider as a part of their Christmas and New Year celebrations as the popularity of the alcoholic drink flows west from Sydney.
Many new ciders have emerged as companies take advantage of the lower tax, 23 cents per standard drink, on the beverage to target younger drinkers.
Cider sales jumped 188 per cent between 2007 and 2011, according to a new report by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.
Australian Hotels Association Orana delegate Greg Pilon said cider was one of the fastest growing categories of alcohol.
"Every distributor seems to have a cider but 12 months ago they didn't," he said.
"I have been doing this for 20 years and my first pub only had four beers."
Mr Pilon didn't believe the lower tax on cider was having an impact on customer's choices but they were trying the greater variety of ciders now available.
"It is not the cheapest drink to have so I don't think the tax would play on people's minds," he said.
"I think people are open to different tastes."
Mr Pilon said the trend of more ciders and boutique beers becoming available in Sydney has emerged in Dubbo.
"It does filter out west eventually, there is change," he said.
"I think it will stay, I think it is a growing trend."
Beer will still be the favoured alcoholic drink in Dubbo despite a larger variety of ciders becoming available, according to Mr Pilon.
"Some places in Sydney have a whole cider bar but I don't think it will get like that in Dubbo," he said.
Mr Pilon believes that his customers at The Pastoral Hotel and those at other licensed premises will continue to consume their drink of choice.
"XXXX Gold is 80 per cent of what we sell but cider is on a rise," he said.
Tourists, Mr Pilon said, were mostly responsible for a spike in cider consumption The Pastoral Hotel has experienced over the festive season.
"We sold a lot of cider the week leading up until Christmas," he said.
"There were a lot of people from out of town."
"We have a lot of Irish backpackers."