Figures released today show a continuing fall in beer consumption in Germany. The Federal Statistics Office said that consumption in 2003 fell by 3.4% despite the unseasonably hot summer. Around 9.32 billion litres of beer were sold in Germany last year, compared to 9.65 billion litres in 2002.

The introduction of a complicated system of deposits on cans and bottles in the first half of last year exacerbated the downward trend of German beer consumption over recent years. Deposits are only paid back to customers at the point of initial purchase. An increase in health awareness and a slow economy are also blamed for the decline.

The FSO pointed out, however, that an 11% rise in exports to other European Union countries helped offset some of the downturn.