Johnnie Walker innovation to target scotch fraud

Posted by Isobel Drake on 7th August 2008

Diageo, world leading premium drinks business and owner of the Johnnie Walker brand, has created new technology to crackdown on whiskey fraud.

The company has been concerned by counterfeiters who refill their Johnnie Walker bottles and sell them as if new and, consequently, have sought to protect their brand with the introduction of a device to prevent such fraudulent activity.

Caps on Johnnie Walker bottles will now not return to their original position after opening and a permanent gold band appears at the top of the neck of the bottle upon opening – effectively eliminating the prospect of a disguised refill.

The technology has been tested in China and will now be implemented by the company worldwide.

It is not the first time that Diageo has sought to be at the forefront of innovation which cuts down on bogus whiskies. In 2004 they introduced a portable authenticator that could identify the legitimacy of a scotch within a minute instead of standards authorities needing to send it to a lab for analysis which could take up to two-weeks.

Their concern stems from the alarming amount of fake scotch whiskey sold around the world. In India in 2007, for example, it was estimated that there was as much counterfeit scotch circulating as the legitimate product – a worrying statistic. Not only does it take business away from the legitimate companies and redirect it toward criminals, but it can also damage a brand and lead to illness for the consumer.