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Adelphi Looks to the Blockchain to overcome Whisky Counterfeiting

Reading Time: 3 minutes by on January 5, 2018 Blockchain, Business, News

Adelphi, Scotland’s acclaimed independent whisky bottler, has espoused the technology underpinning bitcoin to overcome fraudulent substitutions of its limited edition whisky. Counterfeit whisky is a serious issue in the industry that not only tarnishes whisky producers but also is life-threatening.

In January 2016, a bootleg Jack Daniels operation killed over 30 people in Russia. In other countries, duties and taxes paid on alcohol contributes to an informal market bearing cheap and potentially harmful products. Counterfeit food and drink is a global issue that drains more than $40 billion per year from the global economy.

In an attempt to restore trust and transparency in the supply chain, Ardnamurchan Distillery, owned and operated by Adelphi, have embraced blockchain technology to validate the legitimacy of their bottles of whisky.

Adelphi to use arc-net’s Distributed Ledger Technology

To eliminate the illegal counterfeit whisky trade, Ardnamurchan Distillery has partnered with digital tech company arc-net. Alex Bruce, Managing Director of Adelphi, said, “The arc-net platform will give us the opportunity, as a nascent distiller, to share and communicate our love for the brand and ensure our customers have the ability to visualize and validate our products as they move across the globe.”

The project will also educate its buyers on how and when the whisky was produced. The company claims to be the first to use the nascent technology by placing its limited edition product on arc-net’s blockchain platform.

Arc-net is a brand protection and security company that aims to initiate a worldwide standard in product and supply chain authentication. The company mainly focuses on the food and drink industry. Kieran Kelly, CEO of arc-net, indicated that the blockchain has the potential to transform the goods supply chain dramatically:

“Blockchain enables a new era of transparency and product authentication. Alex and his team are pushing the envelope of spirit and whisky production in terms of quality and traceability.”

Blockchain Technology to Validate whisky

The move will transform the Scotch whisky industry by conserving its probity. In July 2017, Edinburgh startup Distilled Solutions developed technology to detect counterfeit spirits. Additionally, some distilleries put a QR code on bottles to verify authenticity.

The nascent blockchain technology makes tracing the beverage possible publicly. Although using QR code is incorporated by many beverage companies, Adelphi is the first to incorporate distributed ledger technology. The venture aims to create a digital fingerprint then cannot be altered, and use the blockchain to eliminate all counterfeit possibilities and initiate automation in the manufacturing process.

Additionally, it will rule out long-established recording keeping systems and enhance transparency. “Adelphi is thrilled to be part of arc-net’s vision to use technology to bring transparency and authenticity to the rapidly growing single malt whisky market,” said Bruce.

James Withers, CEO of Scotland Food and Drink, said, “It’s great to see the Ardnamurchan Distillery merging cutting-edge technology with the traditional distilling process to protect the all-important provenance of their newly launched 2017AD spirit.”

QR code will Educate Buyers

In the initial stage, Adelphi will use QR codes on the Ardnamurchan AD 2017 release. This will record the beverages history, from the source of barley to bottling. Moreover, it is will furnish buyers with a digital certificate of the whisky’s authenticity. Additionally, the company plans to release the feature in all of its beverages.

Bruce said, “By simply scanning a bottle on their phone, customers will be able to find out unrivaled detail about their spirit. Every detail of each bottle’s story will be recorded, from when it was made to where it was exported, and much more.”

Scotland is a country that prides its Scotch whisky industry. The blockchain’s entrance into the spirit industry is equivalent to its entry into the mainstream. We have also seen the technology behind Bitcoin start to track the meat supply in China and the US. Also, the spirit industry plays an important role in Scotland’s economy, accounting for a quarter of all food and drinks earnings. Blockchain technology has a long way to go, and it seems the Scotch whisky industry is going to be one of the early adopters to preserve its reputation during the digital age.


Do you think other distilleries in Scotland will embrace blockchain technology?

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