Can it be? Belgians, who pride themselves on making some of the world's best beer, appear to be turning their backs on the brew in favor of coffee, water and other soft drinks. Over the past two decades, average beer consumption among Belgians has dropped by a quarter according to a study put out by their national statistics office. The average Belgian drank about 98 litres of beer in 2000 compared with 131.1 litres in 1980. Last year, Belgians ranked seventh among the world's beer fans, falling behind the Danes, Austrians, Luxembourgers, Irish, Germans and Czechs. Coffee is currently the top palate pleaser in Belgium, followed by soft drinks and water. Some feel that the drop is partly due to growing concern for health and road safety. Never fear though, Belgian brewers have been expanding their business to Britain, France, the Netherlands and Germany to make up for reduced consumption at home.
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