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Anti-counterfeit technology wins £90k funding

An Edinburgh-based start-up that has developed technology to detect counterfeit spirits without opening the bottle has won £90,000 (US$115k) in a competition for entrepreneurs.

Distilled Spirits has won £90,000 (US$115k) from Scottish Edge

Distilled Solutions has designed and developed “state-of-the-art” chemical sensing and photonics technology for the distilling industry to detect counterfeit spirits.

The business was one of twelve businesses to receive funding of more than £1 million as part of the competition, led by Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter and the Royal Bank of Scotland, and won a business support package as part of its prize.

“Counterfeit whisky is a huge issue for the Scotch whisky brands across the globe but there is now an easy to use, accurate solution to help determine whether whisky is fake or not,” said Scottish Edge CEO, Evelyn McDonald. “Their product is so good it can tell the brand of the whisky, and the age all from outside of the glass bottle.”

Founded by Robert Gray, Distilled Spirits estimates that counterfeit Scotch whisky costs the industry £500m a year. In some cases, the practice has caused death through methanol poisoning.

“We are over the moon to be named as a winner of Scottish Edge 2017,” said Gray. “The funding will allow us to commercialise our technology and start to tackle global counterfeiting in the Scotch whisky industry.”

The award was presented by Scottish Edge board member and head of entrepreneurship at Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, Gordon Merrylees.

“Robert’s passion for his business and knowledge of the industry impressed the panel and they could see great potential in his product,” added Sir Hunter. “I’m delighted that Distilled Solutions have secured Scottish Edge funding and support as part of the competition’s tenth round.”

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