ECONOMY

Alcohol consumption steady

Greeks are known to be among Europe’s most avid whisky drinkers, but total consumption of alcohol in Greece is among the lowest in Europe and, largely dependent on the tourism sector, shows no definite upward trend, according to a study by Stat Bank. The study notes that consumption has been rising or falling within a band of 2-3 percent in recent years, registering a marginal decline in 2003, which coincided with a fall in tourism. According to data collected by World Drink Trends, annual per capita consumption of alcoholic drinks in Greece is 8 liters, ranking the country 19th in Europe. A research by Market Analysis for the January-August 2003 period showed Scotch whisky to command a 28.3 percent market share in nightclubs, bars and cafeterias. Consumption was down 1.5 percent from the same period in 2002. Imported beers and ready-to-drink beverages had market shares of 18.5 and 17.5 percent respectively, both with lower consumption. Vodka was in fourth place with 13.3 percent, up 3.3 percent in consumption. Consumption of liquors fell most, by 6.9 percent. The Stat Bank study notes that importers are losing ground to supermarkets, which import certain brands autonomously. The total turnover of the 21 distributors of alcoholic beverages with comparable financial data in the last two fiscal years was up 10 percent, to 685 million euros in 2003. Their net pretax income rose 13.6 percent to 36.9 million euros. Return on equity was 41.8 percent, considerably above the average in the commercial sector despite a slight decline. Finally, the problem of adulteration of spirits increased in 2003, the study says.