Beer sales in Bulgaria rose by 6% in the first half of 2003 to 172.8m, compared with the first six months of 2002, according to data released by the Union of Bulgarian Brewers.

The Union attributed the increase to recent hot weather, and is forecasting a further rise in the coming months.

The statistics did not include the sales of the Ledenika and Varnensko Pivo breweries, which the Union said had not submitted their sales reports for the first half of 2003.