11 January 2012

Liquor Sales up 7-8pct in 2011 in Sri Lanka

09th January 2012, www.lbr.lk, By Jayantha Kovilagodage

Sale of hard liquor and beer in Sri Lanka are estimated to have increased by about 7-8 percent in 2011 from the year before owing to a post-war economic revival and opening up of former markets.

Commissioner General of Excise Vasantha Hapuarachchi said sharply higher tourist arrivals and reduced consumption of illicit alcohol also contributed to the growth of the legal liquor industry.

"Sales of hard liquor and beer have increased by about 7-8 percent in 2011 compared with 2010, although exact figures are not yet available," he told a news conference.

"The main reasons for the increased consumption are the re-opening of the markets in the north-east, more tourist arrivals and lower illicit alcohol consumption."

Sri Lanka's 30-year ethnic war ended in 2009, reviving the economy, opening up markets in the former northern and eastern war zone and creating a boom in tourist arrivals.

The authorities have also been cracking down on illicit alcohol manufacture and sales following pressure from the legal alcohol industry.

Hapuarachchi said statistics for 2011 were not yet available.

Hard liquor manufacture in 2010 had risen to 49 million litres from 41.1 million litres in 2009 while beer production rose to 71.3 million litres in 2010 from 55.5 million litres the previous year.

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