Germans say nein to stein

It may be difficult to believe, but Germans are deserting their beers.

Sales for 2005 fell to their lowest point since records began being kept in 1991, according to the Deutscher Brauer-Bund, the national brewer's federation.

The organization said sales fell by 0.5% in 2005 to 105.3 million hectolitres. (A hectolitre is a metric unit of volume or capacity equal to 100 liters.) However, sales of beer-based beverages mixed with cola or lemonade rose 15.3%.

Earlier this month, German brewer Bitburger said domestic sales had dipped 2% last year due to the country’s sluggish economy. Fellow brewer Krombacher, meanwhile, reported a slight rise in sales, which were up 0.8%.

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