An overhaul of Bulgaria's excise duty on alcohol was announced late last week.

Duty on beer in the country will rise by 45% to 1.5 levs (US$0.89) per hectolitre from early 2005. The current duty on beer is 1.05 levs. High-alcohol content spirits also see their duty rise, from 0.05 levs per alcohol degree to 0.075 levs.

Bulgaria has negotiated concessions with the European Union regarding home-made brandy. Once the country joins the EU, Bulgarians will be permitted to produce up to 30 litres of home-made brandy a year, and should pay only 50% of EU minimum levels of excise duty on spirits worth €550. Therefore, producers of the full 30-litre allowance will be levied €275 duty.

As of 2004, traders will not be allowed to sell spirits in plastic bottles, but six month's grace has been granted to enable them to sell existing quantities.