There has been a steady rise in bootleg liquor in the streets of Zimbabwe, sold from the boots car dealers, form the back panel vans, from the windows of red light apartment buildings.
This contraband booze has risen in popularity mostly because of the pocket friendly price, where at almost half or less of the official retail price one can purchase a bottle of a “good liquor” you know the kind you can take a picture with and update on your status to show how you are.
The economic situation has pushed everyone to become not only thrifty always looking out for a good deal but to dabble in a side hustle or business, buy, make, build or grow whatever you can and sell it.
Enter the liquor business. Liquor is brisk business particularly during the festive season when people are looking to find the holiday spirit and good cheer.
After local media reported on 3 alcohol poisoning related deaths with speculation high that they drank fake booze there’s been a social media buzz on counterfeit liquor; especially after another publication carried an article on the dangers of consuming fake liquor such as blindness, liver and kidney damage, infertility even death.
Jameson Whisky seems to be the popular choice on the streets with people sharing conflicting messages on how to tell a fake alongside viral images of a backyard Jameson plant.
On the aspect of differentiating between the two bottles both bottles are correct as Jameson rolled out a brand new bottle that highlights the brand’s provenance, triple distillation and premium quality cues
The images of what looks like a Jameson refill industry were taken in 2016 and circulated as a story about backyard fake Jameson breweries in Kariobangi; Kenya
The real story was the bottles were part of a consignment that was being destroyed after a mishap at the port; health reasons the whole consignment was poured down the drain.
Is the Jameson on our streets real or not?
The contraband liquor we have is smuggled from neighboring countries possibly stolen too thus by-passing any regulatory controls (which explains why its sold cheaper than it should be) Also since it by-passes any checks it becomes impossible to tell if its genuine or not as master-counterfeiters can make a copy that tastes exactly as it should and some laced with toxic adulterations such as methanol, known to be extremely harmful to health causing permanent blindness.
The Four P’s to look out for:
According to the Trading Standards Institute, people need to watch out for ‘the 4 Ps’:
Place, Price, Packaging and Product.
Make sure you buy from a reputable establishment.
If a deal looks too good to be true, it most probably is too good to be true.
Look out for poor quality labelling, including things like spelling mistakes
Properly sealed caps. Don’t drink, if the seal is broken.
Fake bar codes. If you have an app on your mobile that scans bar codes, scan it and see if it’s listed as the correct product.
Look out for fake versions of well-known brands and be wary of unusual brand names you haven’t seen before. Vodka, the most commonly counterfeited spirit, shouldn’t have any white particles or sediment in the bottle. If you see this, the vodka could have been diluted with tap water.
If any alcohol tastes or smells bad, don’t drink it.
Even if your liquor is not genuine remember to drink responsibly excess consumption if alcohol is hazardous to health
Also don’t drink and drive.