Bulgaria to Register Grape Rakia as Protected Geographical Indication

Oct 20 2010 - 19:18

Bulgaria will attempt to register the alcoholic drink rakia, made of grapes, as a protected geographical indication (PGI) on the basis of Council Regulation (EC) No. 110/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 January 2008 on the definition, description, presentation, labeling and protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks, repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No. 1576/89.

Rakia (also known as Rakija or Raki), which has its origins in Persia, is a popular strong alcoholic drink throughout the Balkans usually produced by distilling various kinds of fermented fruit.

Krassimir Koev, the executive director of the Agency for Vineyard and Wine at Bulgaria’s Ministry of Agriculture, stressed that for grape rakia to become a protected geographical indication, Bulgaria will need to prove that it is a grape rakia and not a wheat distillate, and that it was first produced in Bulgaria.

Bulgaria’s Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Naydenov stressed that a large quantity of rakia in Bulgaria is not made of grapes, but of wheat. In order for grape rakia to be registered as a national drink before the European Commission, at least 25 percent of it should be made of grapes. However, only 10 percent of rakia is currently made out of wine distillate.

During the EU accession negotiations, Bulgaria made several unsuccessful attempts to protect rakia at Community level as a unique technological product, but this is the first time that this country is trying to protect grape rakia as a traditional, national drink. The registration procedure is expected to last for one year.

Bulgaria already has 14 protected brands of Bulgarian rakia. The aim of registering rakia as a protected geographical indication is to reduce the tax on alcoholic drinks and rakia in particular. The excise tax for a hectolitre amounts to approximately EUR 562 (USD 792).

For more information, please contact Iana Roueva at our Bulgaria office.

Source: Bulgarian web portal Monitor.bg

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