The Finnish Federation of Brewing and Soft Drinks reported yesterday that beer and soft drinks sales in Finland rose by 4.5% from 399.8m litres to 417.6m litres in the first half of 2002.

Beer sales rose by 2.4% from 196.1m litres to 200.9m in the first six months. The Federation said that beer sales through food stores and the state-owned retailer, Alko, rose in the first half while on premise beer sales were flat.

Soft drinks sales rose by 5.4% from 143.4m litres to 151.1m litres in comparison with the first half of 2001. The sharpest percentage increase was observed in the mineral water market which saw sales rise by 7.8% from 28.3m litres to 30.5m litres.

The Federation's statistics are based on the domestic sales of the leading Finnish beer and soft drinks manufacturers, Hartwall, Olvi, Pirkanmaan Uusi Panimo and Sinebrychoff.