Beer sales in Poland rose by 7.7% to 26m hls in 2002 against the previous year, according to figures published by the Polish brewers' association.

The Heineken-owned brewer, Zywiec Group, retained its position as market leader, recording total sales of 8.4m hls, while Kompania Piwowarska, part of SABMiller, was just behind with sales of 8.3m hls. Some way behind the two leading players is Carlsberg Okocim which sold 3.6m hls in 2002, on a par with 2001 volumes.

The performance of the sector as a whole in 2002 continues a period of sustained growth for the Polish beer market. According to the association, the sector has turned in growth of between 6% and 12% every year since 1993, while per capita annual consumption has risen from 30 litres in 1993 to 66 litres in 2002.

Danuta Gut of the Union of Polish Beer Industry Employers said changes to Poland's excise tax system, which have reduced excise for spirits, had not had a discernible effect on the country's major beer producers but have so far had only impacted on smaller, rural brewers.