New Developments In Fight Against Counterfeit Whisky

New Developments In Fight Against Counterfeit Whisky

26 July 2017

LinkedIn ShareShare


Counterfeit whisky has long plagued the industry, with ‘bootleg’ spirits making their way in to the UK and often causing serious health risks. The market for fakes is becoming so large that, in some cases, it has been all but impossible to spot counterfeit goods. It is a concern that affects manufacturers, consumers and the authorities alike. Scotland Yard have intervened, setting up sting operations to try and halt the infiltration of fake malts.

Indeed, it was only recently that a £1m haul of fake Laphroaig was discovered in London. In Russia, many have died after consuming poisonous methanol that was disguised as a branded whisky product. The effects of these fakes have been far reaching. At any given time, the Scotch Whisky Associations could be pursuing around 70 cases globally in relation to counterfeit goods.

However, all of this might soon be a thing of the past, thanks to some innovative new technology. An unassuming black box – no bigger than the size of a tablet – could just be the product that marks a turning point in the battle against the multi-million pound counterfeit whisky market. This latest effort to combat the potentially fatal fake spirits industry will no doubt be welcomed by all of those striving to protect the integrity of the Scotch whisky ‘brand’.

The product is the mastermind of Glasgow-based company, Distilled Solutions, who won £90,000 in investment funding from Scottish EDGE in June of last year. Working with some of the biggest names in distilling in Scotland, the company has been working towards creating ‘fake spotting’ technology. The small, black box they have created can identify the brand and age of the malt it is testing … Through the glass bottle. This is a huge coup for the market – no longer do bottles need to be opened or destroyed to determine their legitimacy.

According to, the technology uses a “patented technique called Raman spectroscopy. It allows them to identify whisky non-invasively, from outside the bottle.” It will then be up to field operatives or inspectors to conduct the scanning process. If able to intercept huge lorry or crate loads of fake good before they hit the market, this product could prove revolutionary for the distilleries – and save lives.

The technology from Distilled Solutions also works for different types of rum, brandy, wine and Tequila – basically anything that has matured in oak. The long-term plan? Perfume and olive oil. Two products that also suffer from counterfeiting. The device will no doubt be particularly welcome here in Scotland, where seven new distilleries are due to open this year.

As recruiters for the Scottish food and drink industry, we welcome any products that reduce the amount of counterfeit goods on the market. We recruit across all sectors of the whisky industry; from the technical, brewing side to marketing and packaging.

Me and my team have several years’ experience recruiting within the whisky industry across Scotland. If you would like to speak to us about sourcing great talent for your business, we would be delighted to help you with your recruitment needs. Click here to see our details and get in touch.




Written By Michelle McLaughlin


Currently there are no comments. Be the first to post one!

Post Comment