William's Latest Fancy: Hard Cider

12/24/2003 at 10:50 AM EST

Prince William loves his hard cider. And manufacturers of the drink couldn't be happier, because the 21-year-old royal's passion for the potion has sent sales soaring and provided the beverage with a new, hip image.

According to the British Press Association, Waitrose, a leading British supermarket chain, claims that demand for the once-unfashionable drink has grown by 22.8 percent in the past month, while sales of traditional English ciders from small producers (other than Waitrose's brand) had ballooned by as much as 35 percent.

"Prince William has given cider a brand-new young and sophisticated image. Customers are saying, 'If it's good enough for him, I must try it to see what I'm missing,'" said Christian Cull, a Waitrose spokesperson, according to the British Press Association.

Cull added: "Until recently, cider was seen by many to be an old traditionalist's drink, forever associated with pubs and farms in the West Country. But Prince William has turned that image upside down."

In interviews and at royal appearances, William has reportedly demonstrated his preference for the apple-based alcohol. Not only that, reports the Scotsman newspaper, but also last month, William's father, Prince Charles, 55, visited a Cambridgeshire pub and tasted a cider.

He remarked afterward that the drink would have suited his elder son very well.

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