The soil of the Brkini region is perfect for plum trees, as is the abundant sunshine of the area. In fact, many of the trees grow in the wild without human intervention. Over the years, they have also become a common sight in the orchards that surround local homesteads, and slivovec has emerged as a distinctive drink of the region.
The brandy is distilled in unique copper kettles that date back about 150 years. The design, which was developed in the Brkini area, includes a special chamber for cool water above the main fermentation vat. The design ensures efficient fermentation, creating a drink with a smooth taste that has made the slivovec highly sought-after well beyond the region. Many of the local farmers operate their own distillation equipment, but only a single coppersmith makes the distinctive Brkini kettles. For years, locals would gather during the slivovec-making process, where they would give each other advice and exchange stories. In some villages, the tradition lives on to this day.
Producing slivovec isn’t easy. The local plum trees do not bear fruit every year, and a viral disease has caused many of them to die off. But despite the difficulties, local producers have persevered and have come to realize that their distinct drink can be used to promote their region. In 1993, slivovec received its own logo, and the drink now has an official designation of origin. This means that only plum brandy produced in the Brkini region can be marketed as Brkini slivovec – in recognition of a tradition that has shaped the local lifestyle for generations.