This festive season, beware of counterfeit alcohol that looks like popular brands, but can put your health at risk. For many South Africans the upcoming holidays are a time to let loose and indulge while in celebratory mode. But, they’re also an opportunity for scammers to find victims to take advantage of.
The South African Liquor Brand Owners Association (SALBA) says counterfeit bottles of spirits and wine have substitute contents which include another alcoholic liquid, or are diluted with water that is poured into a branded bottle.
SALBA has given DRUM readers tips to avoid buying fake alcohol:
1. Check the quality of printing and colouring on labels – counterfeits try to look similar to the real brand, but often can’t pull it off on close examination.
2. Check for tampering on the glue around the cap. This could indicate the bottle has been opened and resealed.
3. Counterfeit products are often diluted clear cane spirits with added colourants and flavouring. A caramel flavour can be added to a cane spirit to create a brown colour that looks like the real product.
4. Harmful substances are added to these products, like toxic methanol, a type of alcohol which is poisonous and can kill.
5. Beware of outlets that are selling liquor without a licence.
6. Do comparative price checks: often fake alcohol is cheaper compared to the industry reference price.