Beer production in the Czech Republic is expected to increase 2% in 2003, to 18.5m hectolitres, according to estimates of the Czech Association of Beer and Malt Producers.

The increase is a recovery from last year when production fell, due mainly to the floods the country experienced in August 2002. However, beer consumption per capita is also expected to be up in the country, to just over 160 litres compared ot just below 160 litres last year.

The Association said exports for this year should top 2m hls, as both large and small brewers increased sales outside the domestic market. Exports should be given another boost in 2004 as the country enters the EU in May.