This is part of a morelong-term trend. In 1999 beer sales in Western Europe are forecast to fall by just under1% to 296mn hectrolitres; by the year 2010 the majority of Northern European markets areexpected to have declined by 14-18%. Beer consumption in Germany, the largest singlemarket, is predicted to fall by an even greater 20% over the period with the closure of300 breweries. Germany and other traditional beer-drinking nations such as the UK andDenmark are experiencing the Western European shift towards wine consumption. Conversely,Mediterranean countries have recently experienced a shift in the opposite direction. TheGreek and Italian markets both increased by around 6% between 1997 and 1998, but theregion is not expected to make any strong advances during the next decade.