Distillers of pálinka – the Hungarian eau de vie – in small communities are being made eligible for microbusiness funding available under the New Hungary Rural Development Program, Rural Development Ministry state secretary Zsolt Német V said on Thursday.
Pálinka distillers in communities with populations under 5,000 will be eligible for subsidies covering up to 60-65% of the cost of investments up to HUF 35 million, the state secretary said.
Last year, Hungarian distillers turned out 1.26 million liters of 50% alcohol by volume (abv) pálinka for commercial sale. Hungarians contracted distillers to make another 9 million liters of 50% abv pálinka for their own private consumption.
Since 2002, only spirits distilled from 100% Hungarian fruit may be called pálinka.
László Piros, the grandmaster of the Pálinka Order, told MTI that about 3.2 million liters of 50% abv spirits are distilled in Hungary each year, and last year 40% of this was pálinka. The proportion has risen from just 5% over the past ten years, he added.
Between 5% and 10% of pálinka is exported.