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Austrians crowned world's 2nd biggest beer drinkers

Austrians have over taken Germany to be been crowned the second-biggest beer drinkers in the world.

Only drinkers in the Czech Republic consume more beer on average than those in Austria, according to the Austrian Brewers Association.

Association head Markus Liebl said today (Mon) Austrians had consumed 8.6 million hectolitres of beer in 2008, two per cent more than in 2007.

Despite the good news for Austrian beer sellers, there are also fears thatthe country's thirst for suds may be quenched somewhat by the global financial crisis.

Liebl added Austrian breweries were under financial pressure because of higher costs and the relatively-high tax on beer despite rising demand.

Austrian breweries were worried about results in 2009 because of higher costs and the recession.

"Because of the trend in costs and the strained global economic situation, we look forward to 2009 with mixed feelings," said association chairman Markus Liebl.


Beer drinking may be regarded by many asa German national sport, but consumption per head of the amber nectar actually dropped slightly to 108 litres last year.

No 2008 figures are available yet for the Czech Republic, but the Czechs are expected to have comfortably defended their position as the world's top quaffers. In 2007, per capita consumption stood at 159 liters of beer.

While two percent more of the beverage flowed from Austrian taps in 2008, beer consumption dropped among Britons, still regarded as some of the world's most avid alcohol drinkers. Sales figures in Belgium and the Netherlands also fell, the brewery association said on Monday.

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