The UK loses £218 million every year from counterfeit wine and spirits
Just under £220 million is lost from the UK economy each year thanks to counterfeit wines and spirits entering the market, according to new research.
The UK loses billions of pounds each year due to counterfeiting, with wine and spirits such as vodka and Scotch key targets for fakers, according to a study published by the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The EU body estimated lost sales in 13 sectors as a result of counterfeiting, from clothing to wine and spirits, back in 2016.
These losses came to more that €100 billion per year, according to the findings.
EUIPO is a decentralised agency of the EU, based in Alicante, Spain.
These figures form part of a cycle of research work focused on counterfeit consumer goods, carried out by the EUIPO over the past 5 years.
Because of the high value associated with IPR, infringement of those rights is a lucrative criminal activity, which generates significant costs to the rights owners and to the economy in general.
The UK loses almost 57,749 jobs each year due to counterfeiting, and 8.1 % of direct sales across all 13 sectors examined.
Last year, 50 million litres of counterfeit alcohol was seized by HMRC.
Fake spirits such as counterfeit vodka, which may include anti-freeze, cleaning fluid, charcoal and/or nail varnish remover, can lead to black outs, blurred vision, short-term sight loss and even death in extreme cases.
Around £218 million is lost annually thanks to fake products in the wine and spirits sector, with Scotch whisky a notable target of counterfeiters.
At the end of 2016, fake Scotch whisky bottles worth close to a total £1 million were removed from the market in what one broker called “just the tip of the iceberg”.