Distillers, Gov't Kick Off War Against Fake Whiskey
Korean whiskey breweries are introducing holograms and tin seals to prevent the sales of fake products in a fresh campaign against counterfeits.
The National Tax Service (NTS) said the measures are part of an all-out effort to root out the selling of cheap whiskey packaged as premium products.
The government has said it will offer 10-million-won ($8,650) rewards to anyone reporting such rip-offs, but since it is hard to distinguish the contents of one type of whiskey from another, clamping down on such practices has been difficult.
Retailers and particularly drinking establishments have been accused of putting low-priced liquor into bottles of more expensive products and selling them at a huge profit.
The tax office said local distributors like Diageo Korea have placed finely-detailed holograms on the bottles of its premium Windsor 12 and Windsor 17 whiskeys since last month.
This measure has also been adopted by Jinro Ballantines for its Imperial 12, while similar measures will be taken for its Imperial 17 early next month.
In addition, producers like Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co. have been placing tin seals on the caps of its products, like Scotch Blue 12, since May, while inlaid holograms will be added to bottles of its Scotch Blue 17 and Scotch Blue 21 in July.
Tax authorities have said the holograms and tin seals made it easier for consumers to identify whiskey and expressed hope that the measures will be effective.
They also reported receiving 105 tip-offs concerning fake liquor since early this year and having paid rewards for six of them.
In addition, the NTS plans to increase the punishment for those making and selling fake liquor in the near future to further discourage the practice. Current rules call for a jail term of less than three years or a fine of up to 10 million won for the production of fake liquor, while shops and bars that sell these products face a 500,000 won fine.