Ukrainian soft drinks and brewing group, Obolon, reported a 24.8% rise in beer production for 2001. The company, one of the country's largest brewers, produced some 345.11 million litres of beer in 2001. Higher demand at home and an increase in capacity were behind the improvement but the company said the development of the product line and improvements in quality were also factors.

Obolon also boosted its mineral water sales in 2001, with production rising by 6.2% to 44.32 million litres. However, with the company placing more emphasis on beer production, soft drink production fell by 3.8% to 65.85 million litres. The company marginally increased its share of the domestic beer market from 27.1% to 27.6% during 2001.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Agrarian Policy Ministry has reported that vodka and spirits production in the country fell by 3.4% 2001 to 200.71 million litres. Observers believe the fall is due to an increase in bootlegging.
The statistics revealed that the major company AO Ukrspirt accounted for more than 50% of vodka production. Obolon produced some 47 million litres, an increase of 4.7 million litres from last year. The total Ukrainian spirits market is thought to be in between 300 and 350 million litres.