The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) is taking legal action against NSW drinks company D’Aquino Brothers, following allegations it is selling fake Scotch.
An investigation by the ABC several weeks ago claimed Australian drinks companies were selling fake imported spirits.
The liquor in question is being served as ‘house spirits’ in bars and pubs, and sold in independent liquor stores in cities including Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Several of the brands being investigated for questionable origin are bottled by D’Aquino Bros in Orange, NSW.
D’Aquino’s The Black Scot whisky is labelled as a “Product of Scotland”, however the ABC claimed to have seen test results from an international laboratory that showed it lacks the unique chemical compounds that identify a true Scotch.
In a statement, the SWA said the case against D’Aquino Brothers “and a number of other parties” was now live.
The SWA is suing the companies “for infringement of our trademark ‘Scotch whisky’”.
“The SWA takes the protection of Scotch whisky extremely seriously,” a SWA spokesperson said. “Wherever the legal requirements that govern the production of Scotch are not being upheld, we will take action.”
According to ABC News, D’Aquino Bros and seven related parties, including Mr Liquor, a Sydney retail store, have been accused of selling alcohol wrongly labelled as scotch.
Liquor and Gaming NSW is also investigating the allegations.
A spokesperson from Liquor and Gaming NSW told Central Western Daily the State government body “is reviewing the matter to ensure the businesses named in media reports hold the relevant liquor licences and are complying with obligations under NSW liquor laws”.
“The NSW Food Authority and NSW Fair Trading regulate food safety requirements (including food labelling) and consumer protection matters respectively,” the spokesperson said.
“Liquor and Gaming NSW will liaise with both regulators and assist with inquiries where appropriate.”
Mexico’s tequila regulator, Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), also says at least three Australian brands are “not linked” to the industry: Blue Cactus Tequila (D’Aquino Bros), Reeba Reeba (Fernbrew) and Los Cabos (GJ Wholesale).
Mexico’s Ambassador to Australia, Eduardo Pena Haller, said: “We feel betrayed, because tequila was created in the state of Jalisco, and when somebody is producing tequila in another country then, well, they are cheating people.
“If you are buying tequila that does not follow that procedure, well then you’re just buying chemical substance.”
A first hearing for the SWA has been fixed in the Federal Court Victoria Registry for August 3.