Just like in most of the other countries on the Balkans, rakia production in Bulgaria started in ancient times and just like in all other Balkan countries, rakia is widely considered to be the country’s national drink.
Various kinds of rakia are produced in the different parts and regions of Bulgaria. The dominating kind of rakia produced depends on the region and its characteristics in terms of consumer preferences and availability of fruit.
Overall, the dominating and most popular kind of rakia on a country level is the grape (grozdova) rakia. Even though in the past grape based rakia especiall in some regions of the country was far from being the most popular one, currently in terms of production and consumption, grozdova I for sure the number one on the market.
The second most popular kind of rakia in the plum (slivova) rakia. It has very long traditions and it is especially popular in the central parts of the country and the mountainous regions as a whole.
All other typical for the Balkans kinds of rakia also do exist in the country like for instances apricot (kaisieva), quince (diuleva), apple (iabalkova), mirabelle (mirabeova), pear (krushova), cherry (chereshova) rakia, etc. Although having lost after 1989 in terms of production capacity and volume and thus also in capacity, those kinds of rakia are still produced in the country. They are very popular is some regions and widely produced as homemade (domashna) rakia.
Overall, after 1989 due to privatization, change in land ownership and so on the rakia production in Bulgaria has lost a lot of its capacity in terms of volume and also a lot of its potential due to the lack of funding, resources, organization and support from the state for research and development. A key issue is also the lack of fruit.
After Bulgaria joined the European Union, the legal basis for production of rakia has changed dramatically. The tough legal regulation has led to numerous bankruptcies of small and mid-sized producers thus leading to a major reshape of the market and much less competition.
As whole though, even though with lower capacity, the quality of some brands has also improved throughout the recent years.
If you go to Bulgaria, just ask the local people around you and tell will help you find the best producer and quality.