Stock Plzen-Bozkov, the largest distiller in the Czech Republic with a 40% market share, has reported a rise in volume sales in 2009.

The group sold 28m litres of spirits during the 12 months of 2009, 5% more than the year before and a company record.

The growth was credited in part to stockpiling by retailers and distributors prior to a rise in value added tax and excise duty on 1 January.

Were it not for the rise of the two taxes, growth in volume sales would only have been 2% according to the distiller's managing director, Petr Pavlík.

However, Czech retailers now have warehouses full of spirits and first quarter sales of the current year will, therefore, likely fall against a year earlier, Pavlík predicted.