June 18, 2018 – Sydney, Australia

Two investigative reporters in Australia, Riley Stuart and Greg Miskelly filed freedom of information requests to pursue a lead concerning fake imported scotch and tequila being sold in liquor stores throughout Australia. Publishing their findings on ABC Australia, the documents obtained by the reporters confirm that several Australian companies are being investigated for producing Scotch and Tequila in Australia. Both distilled spirits are geographically protected, scotch can only be produced in Scotland, while tequila can only be produced in Mexico.

The ABC investigation initiated by Riley Stuart and Greg Miskelly found that brands bottled by D’Aquino Bros Pty Ltd in Orange, New South Wales (NSW), are suspected of being counterfeit liquors. Representatives of the D’Aquino Bros Pty Ltd company refused to answer the reporter’s specific questions. In pursuing their investigation, the reporters spoke to employees of D’Aquino Bros Pty Ltd were anonymously quoted as saying that the brands in question, The Black Scot, purported to be imported from Scotland and Blue Cactus Tequila from Mexico were produced and bottled at the Orange, NSW plant.

The Black Scot and Blue Cactus tequila
The Black Scot and Blue Cactus bottles

The reporters state that they have seen documentation that laboratory tests on The Black Scot brand do have the unique chemical compounds that would identify it as a true scotch whisky. The Black Scot is distributed to retail liquor stores. The D’Aquino Group web site touts that it is, “is diverse, with interests in all facets of the wine, beer and spirits industry, including winemaking, contract winemaking, bottling, distilling, wholesale, export and import. “

Among the listed portfolio of brands, the D’Aquino Group lists The Black Scot as, Like the Black Sheep in most families, our Black Scot Whisky will always make an impression. Distilled from the finest grains and wood matured, our Scotch recipe has been handed down through many family generations. It is smooth and lingering on the palate with a sweet malt finish.” The Black Scott label states that it is imported from Scotland.

In 2007, Fernbrew, a D’Aquino Group company, pleaded guilty to producing fake scotch after a 3-year legal battle. Fernbrew is still a part of the D’Aquino Group, it is listed as the importer of its Blue Cactus tequila. Neither Blue Cactus Tequila or Fernbrew is listed as certified tequila producers by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila, (CRT), the organization charged with certified authentically produced tequila.

In the report filed by Riley Stuart and Greg Miskelly, they noted that the labels of Blue Cactus Tequila revealed that the unique serial number assigned by CRT were falsified. The barcode on the Blue Cactus Tequila was traced by the reporters to a Canadian Company that specializes in swimwear.

Two other counterfeit tequilas were noted in the reporting of investigative journalists, Riley Stuart and Greg Miskelly, Reeba Reeba by Fernbrew Pty, Ltd, and Los Cabos, GJ Wholesale, neither of which are certified by CRT. 

Investigative reporters uncover massive #Counterfeit #Liquor operation in Australia Click to Tweet

While only the producers know exactly what The Black Scot, Blue Cactus Tequila, Reeba Reebas and Los Cabos are really, they evidently are not Scotch Whisky or Tequila.

It is now time for the Australian Regulatory Agencies and criminal courts to act against the D’Aquino Group.

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