Figures released yesterday show Norwegians are drinking more wine at the expense of beer. According to the National Statistics Bureau, Norway's wine consumption rose by 4% to 26.3m litres year-on-year in the first six months of 2003.

Beer dropped to its lowest consumption level since 1990 in the first quarter of this year, falling by 7.6% to 10.2m litres.

Brandy consumption in the first six months of 2003 climbed by 10.8% to 4.8m litres while fruit juice mixed with alcohol also grew in popularity by 7.3m litres to 10.2 m litres.

Each Norwegian over the age of 15 drank an average of 41 litres of alcohol, including 7.2 litres of wine, 1.3 litres of brandy, 29.7 litres of beer and 2.8 litres of fruit juice mixed with alcohol in the first half of this year.