Strip stamps are set to become mandatory on bottles from 2006 as an anti-fraud measure, designed to prove duty has been paid. Diageo innovation development manager Tony Rogers
said Diageo was set to introduce the stamps by that deadline. However, as RFID technology developed and the price of tags came down, tags could become a viable alternative to strip stamps.
They could provide an instant audit trail of a bottle’s progress through the supply chain.
The Smirnoff, Gordon and Baileys brand owner has already looked at putting RFID tags into cartons with duty status encrypted on them.
It has had high level discussions with Customs and Excise on that application, which could curb bootlegging, said Rogers. He said: “They can see the value going forward. There is a desire on both sides to move in that direction.”
Diageo is running a number of in house pilots to establish the possible commercial benefits of RFID. It plans to have finalised its business case for the technology by mid 2005, said Rogers.