Beer sales in Slovakia slid last year, according to recent figures.

The country's Beer and Malt Producers' Association released data earlier this week, showing that Slovakia's breweries saw beer sales in 2006 fall by 4% on 2005, coming in at 3.8m hectolitres. Exports of beer from the country took a particular hammering, the association noted. Last year, exports were down to 36,200 hectolitres, against 118,400 hectolitres a year previous.

Speaking to local reporters, the association's managing director, Roman Sustak, pointed to a rise in licensed Slovak beer production abroad as the main reason for the export slide.

The organisation also said that Heineken Slovensko held its dominant position in the beer market, accounting for a 45.6% share, with Pivovary Topvar, part of SABMiller, making up 39.2%.

In September, Heineken closed its third brewery in the country, blaming a slowdown in the Slovak beer market. The brewer, which now only has one brewery in Slovakia, said the high tax on beer and the lower price of beer produced in neighbouring countries was hitting consumption.