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News 13 Apr 12

Albanians Risk Fines on Homemade Hooch

Ministry of finance plans to force villagers to register rakia distillation cans with the authorities or face fines.

Besar Likmeta

Under a new draft law, Albanians brewing homemade brandy, or rakia, at home will have to register their distillation equipment with the authorities and whoever produces more than 100 liters will have to pay tax.

“If inspections find raw material or an unregistered distillation can, even if it is for personal use, the offender will be fined 20,000 Albanian Lek (€160),” the bill says.

Rakia is an alcoholic beverage almost considered a national drink in many countries in the Balkans. Its alcohol content is normally 40 per cent, but home-produced rakia can be much stronger, typically as high as 60 per cent. Double-distilled rakia has an alcohol content that may exceed 60 per cent.

In Albania rakia is usually made out of grapes grown in the coastal areas with a mild climate, or out of plum. Sometimes it is made from mulberries or walnuts in mountainous areas. Plum and grape rakia are sometimes mixed with other ingredients, such as herbs, honey, sour cherries and walnuts, after distillation.

Homemade production of rakia is widespread in Albania, where drinkers often shun products of large distilleries as industrial and lacking in quality.

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