The industry is buzzing today following a report on ABC news last night, also shown on the national broadcaster’s website, which claims there is a “roaring trade” of fake alcohol in Australia.

The story points to The Black Scot Scotch whisky, which is distributed in Australia by Orange-based company D’Aquino Bros Pty Ltd. The ABC claims to have seen test results from an international laboratory “that show ‘The Black Scot’ lacks the unique chemical compound that identify a true Scotch”.

However, the Managing Director of the D’Aquino Group of Companies, Rex D’Aquino has told TheShout that the ABC has it wrong.

“The ABC news article has misrepresented the facts,” he said.

“D’Aquino Bros Pty Ltd is a registered bottler of Scotch Whisky with the UK Customs and the brand ‘Black Scot Blended Scotch Whisky’ is registered on the UK Customs brand website.”

The CEO of the Australian Liquor Stores Association, Terry Mott, told TheShout that retailers should be on the lookout for any warning signs regarding the products they wish to stock.

“With the increasing trend of customer demand for higher quality products, these products won’t be too hard to spot. If they look too cheap and too good to be true, that’s probably a warning sign to steer away from them.

“The reality is that there is already a pretty strict regulatory environment in place between Food Standards Australia and New Zealand and Customs and Excise, who also have a role to play in their monitoring of spirits production and imports to ensure the correct customs duties and excise charges are applied.

“There is also a strict regulatory environment on food and beverage labelling across Australia and New Zealand.”

Mott added: “So I’d be surprised that any counterfeiting and incorrectly labelled spirits products would have slipped through the net of both of those Federal Government agencies.”

It was a similar sentiment from Michael Waters, the Executive Director of LSA NSW & ACT, who told TheShout: “The LSA has been liaising with the NSW Food Authority since late 2016 in relation to alcohol labelling requirements and spirits geographical indications as prescribed by the Food Standards Code, reinforcing the importance of these issues to members.

“The Association expects members to comply with all applicable State & Federal legislation, and refrain from knowingly associating with any enterprise, using improper or illegal methods for obtaining business.

“As such, we strongly encourage members and fellow liquor retailers to apply careful due diligence when making product ranging decisions for their stores, to minimise potential misuse and subsequent harm to the communities they serve.

“At the end of the day, if it sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is and you’d be wise to not only question, but steer well clear of it and report to the proper authorities.”

He added: “The LSA Code of Conduct recognises that our reputation is one of our most valuable assets, founded largely on the actions and behaviours of the people who represent our association, requiring members adopt best industry practice, promote high standards of behaviour and responsibility across the industry, operate their businesses in a way that ensures that they have a positive effect on the communities they serve, and to ensure that the principles of responsible service are adhered to at all times.”

The ABC also pointed to three tequila brands, ‘Blue Cactus’, ‘Reeba Reeba’ and ‘Los Cabos’ which are available in Australia, through D’Aquino, Fernbrew and GJ Wholesale respectively, and which it claims are not registered with Mexico’s tequila regulator the Consejo Regulador del Tequila.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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