Protection of the product against counterfeiting is one of the most important points in the spirits’ production. Obviously, you cannot neglect the taste and composition of products. However, it all recedes to the background in case of insufficient attention to protection. If the bottle is not protected in the proper way, its content can be easily replaced and disguised as the original in the form of the initial packaging.
Worldwide sales of illegal alcohol are growing annually. It is happening due to several factors simultaneously:
- insufficient attention of manufacturers to the packaging protection;
- low efficiency of the tax system and poor government measures to combat the sale of illegal alcoholic beverages;
- growth in sales on the Internet and on online platforms of distrustful resellers where it is difficult to track the originality of products;
- low level of consumer awareness and poor understanding of the harm caused using counterfeits.
Sales of illegal alcohol in the world
There are official agencies that search for counterfeits around the world. INTERPOL is one of the largest organizations, uniting 194 countries. Its main activities are an assistance with searches and stop the sale of counterfeit food and alcohol.
According to the organization, counterfeiting of alcohol is a major issue worldwide. In 2018, one operation seized 16,000 tons of potentially dangerous counterfeit food and 33 million liters of beverages, totaling $117 million.
Wine and spirits are among the top five counterfeits in Europe. For example, in the UK, according to the Counterfeit Trade Report 2019, imports of counterfeit and pirated goods amounted to 13.6 billion pounds in 2016. It is equivalent to 3% of UK imports in genuine goods. The market of alcoholic beverages ranks third in terms of counterfeit.
According to a research of illegal alcohol sales in the markets of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Africa, conducted by Euromonitor International in 2020, the consumption of illegal alcoholic beverages is 25.8% of the total market. In monetary terms, it is equal to $19.4 billion/year.
The highest level of sales of illegal alcohol is in African countries - Mozambique (73%) and Zambia (69%). In Latin America, the "leaders" are the Dominican Republic (31%) and Ecuador (29%). Among Eastern European countries, the largest share of illegal alcohol consumption is in Russia. It is equal to 28.5% of the total market.
The World Health Organization estimates that 25% of alcohol consumption worldwide is not registered.
The constant growth of e-commerce also has a significant impact on the growth of counterfeit goods in the market. It is easier to pretend to be genuine on the web through the unauthorized use of copyrighted images from major company websites. That is why the issue of brand protection is more acute than ever when selling alcohol through Internet resources.
What are the methods of additional product protection?
Every year there are more and more ways to distinguish genuine products from counterfeits and protect the consumer from questionable purchases. The most interested party in this subject is the manufacturer. But certainly, it is just as important to the end buyer. There are more and more publications on "How to distinguish real alcohol from counterfeit" on the Internet, and manufacturers are actively improving and implementing new methods of protection.
When conducting research to verify if the product is authentic, experts pay attention to the following indicators:
- External protection against counterfeiting: originality of the bottle, presence of special markings and signs, a genuine cap with tamper evident;
- Availability of full information about the manufacturer;
- Organoleptic characteristics.
Depending on the type of examination performed and the scores awarded, ratings of the most protected drinks are compiled. However, it is possible to distinguish the original product from the counterfeit on your own, following simple ways to verify the authenticity of the product.
Firstly, pay attention to the integrity of the bottle and its decoration. The bottle should have all the design elements, text on the label should be clear and readable. The label should include all required information about the manufacturer and products - name, alcohol content and volume, composition, country of origin and city where the production is located, date of bottling and shelf life, as well as information about contraindications and harmfulness of consumption.
However, a cap is an equally important method of protection. The bottle and the label can be reused, but when it comes to a cap that breaks while opening, chances to use it again are reduced to zero.