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Published:  23 July, 2008

It sounds like the title of a 70s cop show, but Diageo Scotland's authenticator' has a rather more serious, if less exciting, purpose - to help with the crackdown on Scotch whisky counterfeiting. Described by the company as the first-ever miniaturised spectroscopic portable testing kit', the authenticator uses ultra-violet technology to test the authenticity of Diageo's Scotch whisky brands. Developed at a cost of 100,000 at Diageo's Brand Technical Centre in Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, the device has been designed to work in the field', where it can carry out a test in under one minute. Diageo believes that it could replace the time-consuming and costly industry standard for authenticity testing, which requires samples to be sent to a laboratory, a process that can take up to two weeks. This is a very significant development for the industry,' said Allan Burns, joint executive director of Diageo Scotland. When consumers think they are buying reputable brands but are in fact buying counterfeit copies, damage occurs not just to the reputation of the industry but can also pose potentially significant consumer health risks. The authenticator means that detection can now be swift, efficient and highly cost effective, providing a powerful deterrent to the Scotch whisky counterfeiters.' The authenticator has already been through successful trials in Colombia, Spain and Venezuela, and will be rolled out to Diageo companies around the world later this year. The company also plans to make the technology available to trading standards authorities and other Scotch whisky companies.