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BRANDY DISTILLERS PROTEST WITH CAMPAIGNING FOR SIGNATURES

MN
2003.03.26. 10:15

Brandy distillers started campaigning for signatures to protest against the bill which wants to reduce the quantity of spirits permitted to distil to the fraction of the present amount after the EU-accession. The action was started by the Hajdú-Bihar County Union of Fruit-Brandy Distillers when it turned out that after May 1 2004 owners of gardens will be permitted to distil 50 liters of brandy instead of the present 100 liters. While the present law regulates the permit per head, after May 1 2004 the limitation affects a household.

According to Péter Pintér, President of the Hajdú-Bihar County Union of Fruit-Brandy Distillers their market will be seriously limited but a great damage will be caused to the 600 000 owners of gardens who come to them to have their brandy distilled. In the fruit gardens there are not only fruits to be sold in the markets but fallen fruit which can be used only as mash. After 2004 a great amount of fruit will be lost as limitations are very severe. The first strict restriction came in 1997 with the excise law when brandy from distillaries had to be bottled. Hired distilleries were the targets of different plans of restrictions between 1994 and 1998 while the period between 1998 and 2002 was relatively peaceful for distillers. They hope that the present law survives, permitting every Hungarian adult to have 1oo liters of brandy of 50 degrees of alcoholic strength distilled annually.

László Győri, President of Council of Distilling Industry is not optimistic in the question as hire distilling can be maintained until 2015 but the amount permitted is fixed and the tax will be also higher. Sándor Font, President of the National Union of Fruit-Brandy Distillers disagrees with Mr Győri, claiming that the European Union norm is senseless and cannot be properly executed as the English text is about fifty liters of fruit spirit per households. Such a measure as this does not exist, all over the world the alcoholic strength is measured: fruit brandy can be distilled with an alcoholic strength between 18 and 96 degrees. The Czechs and the Poles have also discovered this fault but the Hungarian Ministry of Finance has not reacted yet.

(Translated by: Péter Szentmihályi Szabó)

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