The Norwegian state alcohol monopoly, Vinmonopolet, has reported an 8.7% rise in sales to 58.8m litres for 2002. The increase includes a 10% rise in sales of strong spirits.

Vinmonopolet, which operates 176 outlets throughout Norway, attributed the increase to a spate of deaths from bootleg alcohol tainted with methanol and a reduction in spirits taxes.

It is estimated that 50% of spirits consumed in Norway come from sources outside the monopoly, including duty free, home brewing and bootlegging.