Scottish University Taps Blockchain Tech to Fight Whisky Fakes
Anti-tamper bottle tags and the blockchain tracking platform from Everledger are being deployed to help tackle the trade in counterfeit whiskies.
The University of Glasgow is tapping technology from blockchain provenance startup Everledger to tackle fraud in the Scottish whisky industry.
- An agreement announced Friday will see the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre (SUERC) at the Glasgow institution using Everledger's anti-tamper bottle tags and blockchain platform to track rare whiskies.
- SUERC has been tasked with finding ways to authenticate whisky provenance by producers, retailers, auction houses and collectors.
- The center's researchers estimate the market for vintage single-malt Scotch whiskies was valued at £57.7 million ($78 million) in 2018. SUERC believes that around 40% of all rare vintage whiskies in circulation may be fake.
- In 2018, the center found that out of 55 bottles of rare Scotch it had tested, 21 bottles were either fake or not distilled in the year indicated on the label.
- The researchers can tell the fake malt whisky samples from the genuine ones by removing small samples through the cork and interpreting the radiocarbon data in a laboratory.
- "By being granted unprecedented access to samples of the world’s rarest whiskies, its researchers have created a unique radiocarbon dating curve which is now used to determine the age of all types of vintage whiskies," the university said.
- Everledger's NFC-enabled bottle caps and blockchain network are expected to help protect stakeholders along the commercial chain from counterfeit products.
- “One aspect of the process that has eluded us is securing a permanent digital record of a whisky’s origin and age,” said Elaine Dunbar, research scientist at SUERC. "We are therefore absolutely delighted to establish a partnership with Everledger [that] will provide a lasting seal and a digital record of the whisky and details of its radiocarbon analysis."
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