Fake and adulterated alcohol products are a major problem across the globe especially when it comes to expensive brands. The Markets are saturated with fake alcoholic drinks professionally counterfeited to look like the original. Fake alcohol is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a bootleg distillate, very often sold as if it were legally produced. They can produce similar effects to ethanol in terms of making you feel tipsy. But they are also potentially very dangerous.
Methanol has been implicated as the main culprit in many fake alcohol-related deaths. Counterfeit alcohol in Costa Rica, for example, has recently been linked to 25 deaths, with a total of 59 patients confirmed to have required hospital treatment for methanol poisoning.
Alcoholic beverages suspected to be counterfeit may contain high levels of methanol. Methanol poisoning symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness, but severe cases may lead to blindness and death. Severe symptoms do not usually occur until 12 to 24 hours after consumption.
Selling counterfeit alcoholic beverages containing dangerous concentrations of methanol in supermarkets and kiosks is very prevalent in many countries and has recently been exacerbated by the COVID-19 restrictions.
The Fake Hennessy Problem
According to a Premium Times report, the police in Nigeria recently arrested three suspects for allegedly producing fake drinks in Lagos. The suspects who were arrested, specialized in the production of fake versions of such drinks as Hennessy Vsop, Hennessy Xo, Moet Chandon, Jack Daniel, Remy Martins, and Red label among others. The police recovered a large number of alcoholic beverages, jerry cans of substances suspected to be ethanol, cognac coloration, rubber cocks, top cocks, labels, stickers, and other instruments used in the illegal business. In a video released online, fraudsters can be seen making fake Hennessey by refilling empty Hennessey XO bottles in complete disregard for hygiene in the video below;
Guangzhou police in China also arrested three men and seized 1 million yuan (US$150,000) worth of counterfeit Hennessy cognac at a factory in Tianhe District, Yang Cheng Wanbao reports. The fake wine, stored in moldy plastic barrels and poured into cognac bottles, was about to be sold to a Hong Kong merchant when the police raided the hidden factory whose windows were all covered up.
Linda Ikeji reports that last month, the Enugu State Police Command arrested a couple, Chinedu Ibekwe and Blessing Ibekwe, and one Onyinye Nebo aged 38, for producing and selling fake and adulterated bottles of different brands of drinks. “Fifteen (15) bottles of the suspected fake and adulterated brands of wine, including Hennessy (7 bottles), Remy Martins (4 bottles), Glenfiddich (1 bottle), and Johnny Walker Double Black (1 bottle) were recovered. These discoveries have forced many to scramble for information on how to spot real vs fake Hennessy.
Methanol is often deliberately added to alcoholic beverages as a cheaper alternative to ethanol, which is the so-called normal alcohol that can be consumed, according to the Methanol Institute. Drinking just 25 to 90 milliliters of methanol can be fatal without proper medical treatment.
How To Spot A Fake Hennessy
Whether it is a Real vs fake Hennessy VSOP or other products, public health officials list the following guidelines (depending on the brand) to identify counterfeit alcohol:
Holosleeve hologram: An original Hennessy brandy utilizes advanced technology to place a holosleeve hologram on the cork and body of the bottle to distinguish it from fake versions.
Low Price: A particularly low price is a red flag when it comes to Hennessy. For example, the bottle price of Hennessy VSOP in Nigeria is N53, 000 -70,000 seeing a Hennessy VSOP price at N5,000 should tell you it contains something else.
Missing Label: You know you have a fake Hennessy in your possession when the label is missing the manufacturer’s address or name. An Original Hennessy should display all this information clearly. When the label has a spelling error or is glued unevenly it could also be a sign that you are in possession of a counterfeit Hennessy.
Color: An original Hennessy bottle should have a rich cognac color, fake versions of Hennessy have a weak tea mixed with lemon color. In addition, when several bottles of the same batch in a store have an uneven level of liquid. This is an indication of manual filling.
Cork & Shell: One important aspect you should look at when buying a Hennessy is the Cork & Shell. The cork of an original Hennessy is clearly branded as part of its original features and sits tightly at the mouth of the bottle. When you have a shaky cork on a supposed Hennessy bottle it might be fake.
Does Hennessy Expire?
No, Hennessy does not expire but can develop an off odor, flavor, or appearance, when stored wrongly. In this case, it should be discarded for quality purposes. Consuming a Hennessy that has gone bad can cause can poison your system sufficiently to prove fatal. It can cause amnesia. headaches, nausea, vomiting, shaking, and paranoia.
According to the World Health Organization, there have been numerous outbreaks of methanol poisoning from adulterated counterfeit or informally-produced spirit drinks in recent years, according to the World Health Organization. Countries affected include Cambodia, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Libya, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Turkey, and Uganda. The size of these outbreaks has ranged from 20 to more than 800 victims, with case fatality rates of 30 percent in some instances. SEE: How to Identify Fake Vodka vs Real
This information on fake alcoholic products is provided as part of our harm reduction efforts. It’s important to note that alcoholism is a real disease. It can cause changes to the brain and neurochemistry, so a person with an alcohol addiction may not be able to control their actions.
Alcohol addiction can show itself in a variety of ways. The severity of the disease, how often someone drinks, and the alcohol they consume varies from person to person. Some people drink heavily all day, while others binge drink and then stay sober for a while. Regardless of how the addiction looks, someone typically has an alcohol addiction if they heavily rely on drinking and can’t stay sober for an extended period of time.
Many people addicted to alcohol also turn to 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). There are also other support groups that don’t follow the 12-step model, such as SMART Recovery and Sober Recovery.
Regardless of the type of support system, it’s helpful to get involved in at least one when getting sober. Sober communities can help someone struggling with alcohol addiction deal with the challenges of sobriety in day-to-day life. Sober communities can also share relatable experiences and offer new, healthy friendships. And these communities make the person with an alcohol addiction accountable and provide a place to turn to if there is a relapse.