Croatia's admission to the European Union in mid-2013 has given an impetus to small producers of strong alcoholic beverages and according to figures provided by the national chamber of commerce (HGK), since then some and additional 20,000 small businesses producing hard liquors have been registered in Croatia.
The intensification of production and incentives to the production of fruit brandies helped realise the exports in the amount of USD 4.68 million in the first nine months of 2015, while the imports of those kinds of beverages totalled USD. 2.6 million.
Zaklina Jurisic of the HGK sector for agriculture said that the adoption of the legislation on excise duties and some rule books as well as the continued training of producers had helped them to reach the demanding standards on the EU market.
Over 5.05 million kuna of excise duties on the hard liquors production was paid into the state budget in 2014, Jurisic noted.
According to the statistics kept by the customs administration offices in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka and Osijek, currently 43,253 small businesses producing hard liquors are registered, and some 17,000 of them are active in the eastern region of Slavonia.
Jurisic also advised producers to apply for protected designations of origin, protected geographical indications and traditional specialities guaranteed as a means to boost the competitiveness of their products.
She noted that seven hard liquors produced in Croatia had already enjoyed the protected status at the EU level: –- Hrvatska Loza, Hrvatska Stara Sljivovica, Slavonska Sljivovica, Hrvatski Pelinkovac, Zadarski Maraschino and Hrvatska Travarica -- that is grape, plum and herbal brandies.