UK issued fake Smirnoff warning

3rd January, 2013 by Becky Paskin

British consumers have been advised to look out for the telltale signs of counterfeit vodka, after warnings that bottles of fake Smirnoff are currently circulating in the country.

spirit bottles counterfeit fake

Fake spirits warning: the telltale signs to watch out for

The warning came just before the New Year, when many consumers may have been looking to stock up on cheap, counterfeit alcohol for festive celebrations.

However fake spirits, which can contain dangerously high levels of methanol – a substance found in anti-freeze – can cause blindness and death if drunk.

According to Essex County Council, bottles of counterfeit spirits labelled as Smirnoff – the vodka brand owned by Diageo – are circulating throughout the country.

While the council is advising businesses to stick to buying stock from reputable wholesalers rather than the ‘man in a van’, the Local Government Association (LGA) has issued a list of telltale signs of counterfeit spirits to watch out for.

They include:
Unfamiliar brand names
Drinks containing sediment
Wonky labels
Poor quality print
Spelling mistakes
Bottles on display filled to different levels

Cllr Paul Bettison, regulation spokesperson for the LGA, said: “Everyone wants a bargain at this time of year, but by consuming fake alcohol people may be taking their life into their hands. These drinks are often made by organised gangs and may contain all sorts of toxic and dangerous substances.

“Usually, if an offer seems too good to be true then it probably is. Anyone suspicious about a supplier or who thinks they may have bought a bottle of alcohol which may not be legitimate should contact their local council or Consumer Direct as a matter of urgency.”

The warning also comes after a man from Worthing, West Sussex, died after drinking a fake bottle of Polish vodka that contained 40% methanol. Meanwhile, Staffordshire County Council reported to have seized around 1,800 bottles of fake alcohol during 2012, with 21 traders prosecuted.

A study conducted last year estimated that counterfeit spirits is costing the UK Treasury £1.2bn a year in lost revenue,losing more money to the “cross border movement of alcohol than any other EU state”.

The circulation of fake alcohol in the UK is a stark warning to the spirits industry that counterfeiting is not a problem restricted to emerging markets like China and Eastern Europe. Last year around 40 people died as a result of drinking methanol-laced vodka in the Czech Republic, resulting in a partial prohibition.

Leave a Reply

If that's interesting, how about these?

Britons back lower drink driving limit

More than three quarters of the British public believe the current drink-drive more...

Deep Eddy to relocate as it eyes expansion

Deep Eddy Vodka has been given the green light to move its distillery and more...

'Hangover-free' alcohol 'blocked' by regulations

A new synthetic alcohol designed to remove hangovers and reduce the risk of more...

'Glocal' approach leads vodka revival

As the vodka category tentatively recovers, big brands are increasingly looking more...

Marks & Spencer lists Koskenkorva Vodka

Finnish drinks group Altia has struck up a deal with retail chain Marks & more...

ELLC and Sonoma team up for wheat whisky

East London Liquor Company and California-based Sonoma County Distilling Co are more...

Wales secures ‘whisky’ status as Dà Mhìle bottles grain

The nation of Wales is set to become an official whisky producing country as more...

Top 5 bars in... Perth

Situated on Australia’s west coast, Perth is the largest isolated city in the more...

Pinkster gin maker releases first liqueur

The parent company of Pinkster gin has released the first beverage line more...

UK strawberry rum set to make debut

The Shropshire Spirit Co is set to launch strawberry-flavoured white rum made more...

Whitley Neill releases Blood Orange Vodka

Halewood Wines & Spirits-owned Whitley Neill Gin has moved into vodka with the more...

Belgium’s on-trade spirits sales fall 50%

Trade body Spirits Europe has said the Belgian government’s decision to more...

Olympic celebrations boost UK alcohol sales

Alcohol sales in British supermarkets soared 8.5% over the summer months as more...

Poliakov adds 4.5l bottle to range

French vodka brand Poliakov has extended its range with the introduction more...

Scotch whisky gets registered trademark in Taiwan

In what the Scotch Whisky Association has hailed as a "major legal more...

Bartenders' top tips for conquering a hangover

SB has pinned down some of the world's top mixology maestros to elicit their more...

Buffalo Trace unveils vintage-dated Bourbons

Buffalo Trace Distillery is set to release three unique vintage-dated Bourbons more...

W.L. Weller Bourbon proof and age 'will remain'

Buffalo Trace Distillery has unveiled new bottle designs for its W.L. Weller more...

Diageo ‘to cut jobs’ in productivity drive

The world’s largest spirits producer Diageo is reviewing staffing levels at more...

Diageo: Work on J&B Scotch 'not good enough'

Work carried out on blended Scotch brand J&B was “not good enough” in more...