Journalists learnt at a Moscow press-conference today that Russians on average consumed 45 litres of beer in 2001. The press-conference organisers, who were presenting the statistical results of their research into the state of the Russian beer sector, said that in spite of the growth in beer consumption, indices showed that the country was still one of the least beer-loving nations in the world. For the sake of comparison: in the Czech Republic, which by rights can be called the "beer country", the average citizen drank 161.8 litres of the amber nectar. Experts present at the press-conference pointed out that beer drinking had cut the fatality rates among Russians consuming poor quality alcoholic drinks. According to the specialists, Russia, which has one of the highest rates of hard liquor consumption per person, also has the highest death rate from alcohol abuse in Europe.