National ID cards will eventually replace current ID used to buy alcohol in pubs, says the man heading the national ID card roll-out.
Identity and Passport Service chief executive James Hall also revealed that "several thousands" have already registered interest in applying for one of the new cards.
The cards, which are not compulsory, will cost £30. People in Manchester will be the first who can apply for them in the autumn, before the national roll-out in 2011/2012.
"Several thousand have registered on the website to show their interest," said Hall. "We will be focusing on Manchester to start. We'll then be moving forward cautiously before we start to scale this up."
Asked if he predicted a large take-up among young people, he replied: "Yes I think there will be.
"I think it's a little bit like the telephone. On it's own it isn't of great benefit to people. As they become more popular businesses will turn to ID cards as proof of age and as businesses start to ask for them more regularly, customers will find it more natural to get one.
"In the next 12-18 months we can build a virtuous circle among businesses and consumers."
Hall said the new cards will be more convenient than passports as ID for pubs, and there is "some nervousness" about carrying driving licences because they include people's addresses, unlike the new cards.
As for Pass-accredited cards, Hall said: "There's lots of them about and almost in the multiplicity is their weakness. A lot of people pubs and clubs are reluctant to accept them."
He added: "I think over time the ID card will replace these things and become the most convenient and effective form of ID.
"My expectation is in due course, people will get a passport and ID card together, keep one as their core travel document and put the card in their wallet - that will become their de-facto way of proving ID."
Hall said the cards will be advertised across the trade within the next few weeks. Adverts will raise awareness among firms and showing where to get hold of supporting material to educate staff about the cards.
"As we get closer to the launch between now and Christmas, we will be supplementing these with direct adverts to consumers."
For more information on the cards, see www.direct.gov.uk/identity