Approximately 40% of the bottles of aged whisky were fake or not produced on the date they claimed.
The University of Glasgow’s University of Scotland Environmental Research Centre, or SUERC, is joining forces with supply chain company Everledger to tackle counterfeiting within the whisky industry, according to a Dec. 18 publication.
The market for Scotch single malt whiskies reached more than £57 million (USD 77 million) in 2018. However, SUERC researchers estimate that up to 40% of the bottles currently in circulation could be counterfeit.
Using radiocarbon dating and unprecedented access to rare whisky samples, SUERC has developed a method for determining the age of all types of aged whiskies, with an accuracy of a couple of years.
Through this method, SUERC was able to demonstrate that 21 of the 55 bottles of rare Scotch whisky they had tested were either false or not distilled in the year indicated.
Major Scotch whisky brands, auction houses, collectors and retailers using the SUERC authentication service requested the addition of tamper protection to the bottles that were already dated.
The new association will see SUERC fitting Everledger tamper-evident closures to the bottles they have authenticated. These contain near-field communication, or NFC tags, which connect to a digital certificate of the bottle’s age and origin, which is located in the block chain.
Everledger has joined forces with several brands to tackle counterfeiting this year, including a partnership with JD.com to authenticate diamonds in China and the fashion house Alexander McQueen.