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Breakthrough in fight against Scotch whisky fakes in Australia

Published:  15 April, 2014

Scotch whisky has been registered as a certification trade mark in Australia, giving consumers and the industry better protection against the growing market for fake whiskies there.

The Scotch Whisky Association said  Australia was one of the worst markets for fake Scotch - it has had to take action to stop the sale of 40 fake brands there since 2005.

It is believed the widespread availability of fakes is the result of specific protection for Scotch Whisky being removed from the country's Food Standards Code in 2000 and a lack of enforcement activity by the authorities. As a result, the onus for policing the market has fallen entirely on the trade.

The SWA sought assistance from the UK government and the European Commission. They gave ongoing support, with Foreign Secretary William Hague raising the issue on a visit to Australia and the EC drawing it to the attention of the Australian government in bilateral meetings.

Alan Park, legal adviser at the SWA, said: "I have been involved in actions against many fake 'Scotch whisky' products in Australia in recent years. Registration of Scotch whisky as a certification trade mark is a major breakthrough and will make it easier to crack down on fakes and therefore protect consumers, although the onus to prevent the sale of fakes still rests on the industry.

"It has taken time and effort to achieve this result and we would like to thank the UK government and European Commission for their support. Scotch whisky exports are of immense value to the economy so overseas protection is vital. We will be monitoring the market and will use our new protection to take decisive action against fakes."

Scotch whisky exports to Australia were worth £84 million in 2013, up 7% from £79 million in 2012, making it the twelfth largest overseas market by value.