How to avoid becoming a victim of counterfeit spirits.

Price, provenance and signs of damage or tampering are the things to watch out for.

If a product is offered for sale at much less than the normal price it may indicate it is not genuine - a deal that 'looks too good to be true' is probably just that.

Know and trust the seller. Shop-keepers, bar owners and other retailers should take care to know their suppliers. For consumers, it is always advisable to buy products from a reputable retailer.

Examine the bottle. Spirits are high-value products and the producers take care to ensure that the packaging (the cap, the labels, the bottle) are high quality. So, if there are signs of damage or tampering, or the quality of the packaging looks poor, it may indicate a counterfeit. When buying a bottle in a club or bar it is advisable to ask to check the bottle before it is opened and if the closure looks suspicious to send it back.

Check before drinking. When buying by the glass, check for colour and smell before any mixer is added, and if concerned about either don't drink it. If the colour, smell or taste are not normal, call the relevant consumer care line and let them know or report it to IFSP via this website.

Lot Codes

All the brand owners represented by IFSP produce spirits according to the strictest food safety rules. This includes marking each bottle with a Lot Code. Lot Codes appear in different places on different brands, sometimes in more than one place, for example etched onto the glass, or printed onto the label or the cap. Their meaning may not be immediately obvious, but they allow the brand owner (and IFSP) to tell where and when that bottle was filled, and a wrong or missing Lot Code can be an indicator of a counterfeit product.

Law enforcement training

IFSP provides training to law enforcement officers on request and at no cost, normally on law enforcement premises. Training events are often multi-agency. Training covers the basics of counterfeit identification (what to look for and some of the tools available), brand recognition details (how the genuine bottles, closures, labels, Lot Codes etc. look) for the key IFSP brands in a particular market, and examples of the counterfeits that have been found.