The Netherlands has seen a fall in alcohol sales of 27% to 31m litres between January and August this year, the country's press reported the Dutch alcoholic drinks organisation, PDG, as saying today.

The report pointed to an 18% increase in excise duties on alcoholic drinks, as the primary reason for the fall.

The increase was made to cover a €70m budget gap. However, PGD chairman, J. Blauw said the move had had a negative effect and may force smaller producers to close down.

The increase in duty has also increased the amount of cross border shopping with neighbouring Germany and Belgium. The largest falls in Dutch sales have been on the borders of these countries.

Currently taxes, including excise duties account for 75% of the price of alcoholic drinks in the Netherlands.