Beer sales in Bulgaria rose by 8% in 2003. Figures released on Saturday by the Union of Brewers in Bulgaria showed sales for last year hitting 430m litres.

Union officials credited the rise on the aggressive advertising campaign by local brewers and favourable weather conditions.

Beer consumption in Bulgaria has consistently risen since 1998, with the exception of 2002, when beer sales dropped by 8%. Consumption in Bulgaria is expected to reach 54 litres per capita this year.

Market share in the country was split thus: Zagorka brewery was up to 31% from 26% in 2002; Kamenitsa held 26%; Carlsberg reached 14%, while the sole fully Bulgarian-owned brewer on the domestic market, Bulbrew reported a 19% market share. Bolyarka brewery had 9% market share in 2003.