BY DONALD NYANDORO
Zimbabwe’s official distributor of Jameson Irish Whiskey is being forced to introduce extra security features on packaging of its products due to proliferation of “fake whiskies” in the country.
Bullred Distribution said there was a significant rise in the number of people selling illicit alcohol packaged as Jameson Irish whiskey.
“We have received complaints from members of the public who have purchased alcohol from various places and have complained of texture, smell and taste,” Bullred sales manager Tatenda Ruwodo told Standardpeople.
“We recognised that they were sold illicit imitation alcohol and we addressed this issue by adding extra security features to our bottles to give customers the tools to identify stock distributed through the original channels.
“Firstly, we have added extra security features to all our bottles.
“Consumers should look out for a clear plastic seal on the lid of each bottle, as well as a white “Drink Responsibly” sticker on the side.
“As Bullred Distribution, we pride ourselves in selling the original product, not the imitations that you see in the market and we are actively working to educate consumers.”
There are several health risks, which vary in severity from alcohol poisoning to cancer, liver disease, hormone imbalances, loss of hair, and even death posed by the fake whiskeys.
Zimbabwe does not have laws against the distribution of illicit alcohol, which is mostly sold at cheaper prices compared to that sold by official suppliers.
“All we can do is ensure we follow the laws in place and do everything we can to inform consumers on how best to protect themselves when purchasing Jameson Irish Whiskey,” Ruwodo said.
There is a proliferation of illicit brews sold under the guise of whiskey, vodka and gin to unsuspecting imbibers, especially in high-density areas in cities.
Zimbabwe is facing a rising drugs and alcohol abuse crisis, which worsened during lockdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19.