Sales of beer in Norway fell by 5% between January and April this year, compared to the same period last year, according to figures from the Norwegian brewers' and mineral water producers' association.

The association said that the fall could mostly be attributed to lower taxes on alcohol sales, which resulted in increased import and sales of hard drinks.

Helge Hasselgard, the association's information director, said the consequences could be dramatic, with unwanted and serious consequences for the development of the beer industry in Norway.