Norwegian breweries Ringnes, Hansa Borg, and Macks are planning to cash in on the increase in demand for alcohol-free beer in Norway.

Latest data compiled by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and released by brewers'
federation Bryggeriforeningen today (4 January), confirms a 23.9% increase in the sale of alcohol-free beer in 2006 compared with 2005.

"Although the sale of traditional beers rose by 4.4% compared to 2005, the increase is still modest. We are likely to see more investment and more brands by breweries into their alcohol-free brands," said Bryggeriforeningen director Halfdan Kverneland Olafssøn.

Brewers are expected to respond to the strong upward consumer swing in demand for alcohol-free beers by increasing capacity and production, said Olafssøn.

"The turnover of light beers and class C beers is falling considerably. The sale of non-alcoholic beers is helped by the launch of new flavours and brands," noted the NSO report.