September 23,2017 -Scotland
Senior Customs officials have announced that they are in the process of hunting fake alcohol makers in Scotland. The proliferation of fake alcohol is sweeping the United Kingdom and has reached epidemic proportions. Customs officials revealed that as soon as they identify and shut down an illicit producer another sets up shop. These fake alcohol gangs, previously operating in Northern England, are now crossing the border into Scotland as the noose tightens from the pursuit of Customs Officers.
Name brand white spirits are the target of these counterfeit enterprises. White spirits, gin and vodka, are a favorite because they are easy to imitate. Customs officials noted fake alcohol in no longer delivered in plastic containers as was the case of less sophisticated moonshiners not many years ago. Today’s bootleggers have all the tools and equipment they need to bottle exact replicas of name brand liquor, including, counterfeit liquor bottles, caps, cartons and even tax stamps.
The special customs team assembled to target the distillers executed two successful operations in South Wales and Cardiff before moving into Scotland. This Customs team closed a distiller in South Wales where they seized 5,000 bottles of fake spirits and 25,000 empty bottles. A second triumph for this team was in Cardiff where they seized a large quantity of methanol and industrial alcohol. The trend is for these production facilities to continue to move North, the Customs Team will follow.
According to a special Customs Investigator these gangs have every aspect of legal alcohol production copied, except for actually spending the time distilling real alcoholic beverages. Diageo, a major liquor producer, is helping the team in any way it can because their brands are a major target of the fake booze gangs. It is estimated that Diageo is losing $350 Million annually to counterfeiters around the world. In Scotland alone, Diageo estimates production of whiskey and white spirits at 42 Million cases annually, plus 10 million cases of premixed drinks.
Diageo is feeling the impact of these gangs that have bottling plants, labeling facilities, and a distribution network. Investigators say that the going rate for the fake alcohol is 1/3 the price of authentic alcohol which leads the traditional customers, bars, pubs and restaurants to turn a blind eye even if they are putting their customers in danger. Diageo has helped this special Customs team to identify fake liquor quickly in the field by developing a dip stick that gives officers a preliminary indication that the alcohol is fake.
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