Brits will consume more Cognac and Armagnac than France by 2010, while the French will continue to drink more Scotch than the UK, according to a forecast from the International Wine & Spirit Record.

The research, commissioned by French wine exhibition Vinexpo, predicted that, in three years, volume sales of Scotch in France will have risen slightly to 11.35m nine-litre cases.

Meanwhile, Cognac and Armagnac sales in the UK over the same period will have risen 6% to 920,000 nine-litre cases.

"France is already a bigger market for Scotch than the UK," confirmed David Williamson, of the Scotch Whisky Association.

"UK consumption of Scotch has been in slight decline for a while, but now we are seeing growth of brown spirits across the board and expect Cognac and Scotch to benefit."

A spokeswoman for Armagnac said it wasn't just volume that was up but also value, as consumers switched to vintage spirits.