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Hot weather boon for Hungarian brewers

Hungarian brewers hope the heat wave the country is suffering will lift sales which fell about 9% in 2009.

Domestic beer sales fell 7%-8% in spring and early summer from the same period a year earlier because of the unseasonably cool weather, said Ildikó Stefanovits, communications director for Borsodi, one of Hungary's three biggest brewers. Data from market researchers show the market could see a double-digit contraction this year, but Borsodi expects its own sales to rise.

The hot weather, as well as the FIFA World Cup, probably had a big influence on beer sales, although firm numbers from wholesalers and the brewery's other partners are not yet available, she explained. Summer sales generate about one-third of annual turnover, while sales in the winter account for just 15% of the total, she added.

Borsodi introduced a low-alcohol, lemon-flavored beer at the beginning of summer and sales have well exceeded expectations, Stefanovits said.

Most football fans quenched their thirst with beer during the World Cup, said Mónika Agócs, spokesperson for Dreher, another of the country's three biggest breweries. Dreher organised several promotions linked to the World Cup through catering channels, she added.

Sales should rise because of the hot weather after a cool May and June, Agócs said.

Marta Munding of micro-brewery Mediator said beer consumption had doubled because of the heat wave.

Hungarian brewers sold 6,289,000 hectoliters of beer in 2009, 12% less than a year before, including exports. (MTI-Econews)