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At Statiris Tavern, the patrons' faces are hardened from a life of hard work – truck drivers, builders and farmers who've just ended their grueling grape harvest.A close relative of the Greek spirit ouzo, tsipouro has become increasingly popular during the recession as an affordable alternative to imported drinks, but is now facing a tax increase under European Union rules that could almost double its price.Coming on top of a raft of other tax increases the government is planning to pay off debts, the news is a disaster for Tirnavos, a farming town in central Greece famous for its production of tsipouro.For branded tsipouro, the tax increase would push up the retail price of a 700ml bottle from roughly 10 euros to 17 euros ($19), equaling the price of whisky and vodka.Panagiotis Papras, who uses 5 hectares to grow grapes, fears the new tax increases could force farmers to switch from growers to importers.Truck driver Constas Parakos insists the town of Tirnavos will never give up its love for the drink.
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