Beer exports from Czech breweries rose impressively in the first half of this year, according to new figures.

The Czech Association of Beer and Malt Producers said yesterday (24 August) that exports in the first six months of 2006 leapt by 17% on the corresponding period last year, coming in at 1.7m hectolitres.

At the same time, domestic production was boosted by a good summer in the country, the association noted, as sales were up in the same period by 2% to 7.85m hectolitres. Total output from Czech's brewers between January and June increased by an equally modest 4.4% year-on-year, to 9.55m hectolitres.

Of this total production, the share given over to exporting picked up to 18%, compared to 16% in H1 2005. Whereas Germany and Slovakia took the lion's share of exports from Czech, impressive growth was recorded in Ukraine, Belgium, Finland, Sweden and Russia.

The association expects full year production to reach 19.5m hectolitres, against the 19.07m hectolitres recorded in 2005. Exports are forecast to rise by 0.4m hectolitres this year to 3.5m.