One of the first election promises Hungary’s governing center-right Fidesz party wants to fulfill is to allow people to distill their own palinka, Hungary’s national alcoholic beverage. Alcohol distillation has so far been heavily regulated and taxed in Hungary, allowing production only at licensed distilleries. Black-market production and sales of palinka were widespread in the Hungarian countryside, and town folks treasure the home-made drink produced there.
The new rules allowing home-made palinka are part of the economic overhaul announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orban that includes efforts to cut red tape. Up to 86 liters a year of palinka distilled at home will be exempt from the excise tax. The drink will only allowed for consumption at home or in countryside guesthouses.
The legislation may put Hungary on a collision course with Brussels as the European Union strictly controls the production alcoholic beverages, Hungarian daily Nepszabadsag wrote, adding that total liberalization will be impossible. (Wall Street Journal June 24)