Scientists develop laser test for counterfeit whiskey without even opening the bottle!


As the hospitality industry struggles to survive there are concerns that more counterfeit whiskey will soon be hitting the shelves of establishments across Europe.

Researchers at the University of St Andrews in Scotland have used a laser technique to penetrate a bottle and analyse its contents. Counterfeit drinks cost the UK economy more than €224m (£200m) in lost revenue each year, according to a 2018 study published by the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office.


As the Pandemic continues to threaten the livelihoods of thousands of bar and restaurant owners throughout the world authorities have become aware that the temptation to stock these ‘substitute’ whiskeys has never been so high.

Before this new method was discovered, scientists had to open the bottle to take samples as the glass caused interference with the readings. Professor Kishan Dholakia, who led the study, said: “I hate it when I have to spare a drop of whisky for validation checks. I’d much rather drink the whole bottle.

“Laser spectroscopy is a powerful tool for characterising the chemical make-up of many materials, but to use it to characterise alcohol in its original container in this simple way is really exciting.” The team used the method of laser spectroscopy which is a process that shines laser light into a substance of interest -the beam then scatters light into different colour depending on its chemical make-up.

This newly developed process can identify materials ranging from bacteria, food and drink, through to the paint on sculptures and explosive powders. The team used a glass element to shape the light to produce a ring of laser light on the bottle surface and a tightly focused spot within the liquid contents.

If you liked reading the article on counterfeit drinks maybe you would like to read about a recent raid in Northern Spain where police seized thousands of euros worth of counterfeit goods?


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