The largest producer of the traditional beverage NAVIP in Serbia and in the Balkans has closed after 84 years, another victim of the economic crisis in the region.
Miroljub Spasojevic, director of the NAVIP factory, said the remaining 20 workers stopped coming to work on Monday, as the company that produced the popular fruit brandy known as rakija has gone out of business.
The NAVIP factory was built in 1929 and, according to Spasojevic, managed to survive the Second World War, but it couldn’t survive the current economic crisis.
Since its foundation the factory had exported 5 million of bottles of rakija, much of it to the US and the European Union, but also to Canada and Australia.
“From 1980 until 1990 alone around 1,650 000 bottles were exported,” said Spasojevic, noting that this made it the largest exporter and producer of rakija in the Balkans.
Rakija is a traditional Serbian brandy that can be bought for as little as just a few euros, but those of higher quality can retail for as much as €150.
The beverage is available in almost as many flavours as there are fruits, and is sometimes flavoured with herbs such as wormwood.