E-commerce has made it much easier for consumers to obtain alcohol since making bulk orders can be as easy as making a few clicks in the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, the increase in presence of online liquor stores has also made it easier for alcohol counterfeiters to sell fake whiskey and vodka in authentic bottles and hence allowed the circulation of counterfeit alcohol in the market.
Recall the last time you bought a bottle of whiskey online - how sure are you that you didn’t get a counterfeit bottle? Do you know where the drink came from and if you are simply getting the bottle at a steal or are being scammed?
Read on to find out the perils of getting a bottle of counterfeit alcohol and some ways to authenticate your bottle of liquor.
The Dangers of Consuming Fake Liquor
The consequences of consuming fake liquor are far more serious than just not getting your money’s worth of quality or bad-tasting alcohol. Chemicals such as methanol and isopropanol which are commonly found in cleaning fluids, nail polish remover, and automobile screen wash are often used as substitutes for ethanol in counterfeit vodka. Needless to say, these can cause dangerous health consequences such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, kidney failure, liver problems, and even coma when ingested in high volumes.
One might argue that consuming authentic alcohol in large amounts regularly can also cause alcohol poisoning and other major health problems but these consequences are brought upon by abuse of alcoholic products, and not caused by the quality of the alcohol itself. Alcoholic drinks which are produced under the governing regulations ensure that products are safe to be consumed, whereas counterfeit alcohols are often made in illegal or unregulated factories that compromise the safety of consumers. To make matters worse, chemicals such as methanol or ethylene glycol are difficult to differentiate tastewise from ethanol even though the former is significantly more dangerous.
How to Sniff Out The Fakes
Although it might be difficult to authenticate fake and real liquor based on its colour and taste, there are many other methods that consumers can try to protect themselves from the disastrous health consequences that fake liquor can bring.
Counterfeiters typically collect empty alcohol bottles from bars and refill them with bootleg liquor before repacking and relabelling them to sell over the internet. To spot a bottle of fake product, give the product label a check - if there are typos, it is most definitely a counterfeit bottle of alcohol. You can also check the type of glue used to stick the label and the consistency of liquor levels for each bottle - a shoddy job would be a red flag.
For Chivas whiskey bottles specifically, consumers can shine a light into the whiskey bottle to tally the serial number embedded in the interior of the bottle with the serial number printed on the label. A counterfeit bottle will most likely have a different serial number printed on its new label.
Another method major alcohol brands have undertaken to avoid counterfeiters is to develop smart bottles that come with QR codes that consumers can scan to check the production process and serial numbers of each individual bottle. In theory, this would at least prevent counterfeiters from being able to use authentic bottles in their illegal operations.
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