Contraband spirits could soon be identified on the spot thanks to a new system developed by industry giant Diageo.
The company, which owns the Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker whisky brands, has invested £100,000 in developing a new hand-held system which can instantly blow the whistle on suspect stock.
Currently, Trading Standards officers have no option but to wait two weeks for laboratory work to be completed.
Diageo said the hand-held device, called ‘the authenticator’, would give results within a minute of testing out in the field.
The machine works by providing a ‘fingerprint’ unique to each brand which it can then match against dubious samples. It will initially be used to
combat the huge trade in contraband whisky.
Allan Burns, joint executive director of Diageo Scotland, said: “Protecting consumers and ensuring they continue to enjoy the taste and quality of genuine Scotch whisky is essential to the industry’s future.
“When consumers think they are buying reputable brands but are, in fact, buying counterfeit copies it damages the reputation of the industry and could pose health risks.”
Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, said: “This device will give consumers even more confidence that the industry is doing all it can to ensure the quality of Scotch whisky.”
Rosie Davenport