Scotch whisky has been trademarked in Australia to crack down on sales of fake products in the country.
More than STG84 million ($A151.07 million) worth of genuine Scotch was sold in Australia last year, making it the 12th largest overseas market for the industry, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) says.
Since 2005, the SWA has taken action to stop the sale of 40 brands of fake Scotch in Australia.
The body says the removal of Scotch from the country’s food standards code in 2000 led to a rise in counterfeits.
The drink has now been registered as a certification trademark to help identify genuine imports.
The SWA was supported by the government and the European Commission in the bid to better protect the industry, and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague raised the issue on a recent visit to Australia.
SWA legal adviser Alan Park says: “I have been involved in actions against many fake Scotch whisky products in Australia in recent years. Registration of Scotch whisky as a certification trademark is a major breakthrough and will make it easier to crack down on fakes and therefore protect consumers, although the onus to prevent the sale of fakes still rests on the industry.
“It has taken time and effort to achieve this result and we would like to thank the UK government and European Commission for their support.
“Scotch whisky exports are of immense value to the economy, so overseas protection is vital. We will be monitoring the market and will use our new protection for Scotch whisky to take decisive action against fakes.”
The SWA has worked with other countries across the world to crack down on counterfeit Scotch.
In 2010 an agreement was reached with China that only whisky produced in Scotland can be marketed as Scotch to Chinese consumers.
In January, Scotch whisky was the first drink to be covered by the Spirit Drinks Verification Scheme, which was set up by the British government to help consumers identify genuine products.
Producers have to sign up for the scheme if they want to sell within the European Union. Protection is to be extended to other drinks with a geographical origin, such as Somerset Cider Brandy and whiskey from Northern Ireland.