Brandy is a strong alcoholic drink that is traditionally produced and served in Serbia. In Serbia, the term brandy means pure distillate obtained exclusively from fruit, most often from plums.
Brandy is produced by alcoholic fermentation and distillation of agricultural raw materials in the manner prescribed by the Ordinance for each category of brandy. Refined ethyl alcohol (whether diluted or not), sugars and other sweeteners, flavors and alcoholates are not allowed in the production of brandy. It is not allowed to add caramel to brandies, except for those brandies where it is prescribed by the Ordinance and exclusively for the purpose of adjusting the color. Maturation of distillates is allowed in the production of brandy.
Plum is the leading fruit species in Serbia, both in terms of area and production, and it can even be said that it is one of the symbols of Serbia. Plums are grown on 72,000 hectares with an average production of 437,000 tons per year. Plum orchards cover about 40% of the total area of all orchards. In the last few years, it has become more and more common to replace traditional, extensive plantations with modern, intensive plum plantations, with a planting density of 800 to 1,200 seedlings per hectare and a yield of 14 t / ha.
Plums are grown on the territory of the whole of Serbia, but the areas of Western Serbia, Šumadija and the part of Southern Serbia around Prokuplje still stand out.
According to some estimates, the processing of stone fruit into brandy, primarily plums, amounts to over 70%, which means that about 31-38 million liters of plum brandy are obtained annually.
Based on the submitted annual reports of registered producers, the production of strong alcoholic beverages in 2018 amounts to 27.4 million liters. In addition to registered producers (entrepreneurs and legal entities), there is a large number of individual producers, ie. natural persons who produce brandy for their own needs as a centuries-old tradition.
It is estimated that with the amount of brandy in their own households, the total amount of brandy produced is about 50-60 million liters, of which the largest production is concentrated in the Rasina, Sumadija and Zlatibor regions.
Other commonly used fruits for making brandy are grapes, apricots, apples, pears, raspberries, quinces and other fruits. On average, about 10 million liters are produced from other fruit species (apricots, pears, quinces, etc.). Wine brandy, Serbian "vinjak", is produced on average about 5 million liters.
In 2018, 3,036 tons of strong alcoholic beverages were exported (1,077 tons of fruit brandy), in the value of exports of 15 million dollars. The largest value of exports of strong alcoholic beverages in 2018 was achieved by the export of fruit brandy, 6.5 million dollars, which represents 43.3% of total exports.