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Public asked to keep an eye out for bootleg drinks

Nikifskaya vodka

By Constantinos Psillides

THE HEALTH services are investigating whether a number of vodka and tequila drinks that are available in the market are original products or imitations.

A public health announcement said a company, A, Mangas Trading Ltd, was suspected of distilling its own spirits and selling the drinks with a false label at price much lower than the original.

The health services are also investigating the company CP and Sons Ltd, suspecting that a tequila it sells is not produced at a licensed distillery.

Mangas Trading are suspected of distributing imitation Nikifskaya vodkas and an alcohol drink named “Chiquita”. The health services also issued a guide on how to tell which one is the fake vodka. The original vodka has a gold colour cap while the fake one is white, the original is 38 per cent alcohol (38 Vol) while the fake is 40 per cent (40 Vol) and finally the fake vodka has the barcode number 5290075003333 whereas the original is 5290075000936. Both vodkas are available in one-litre glass bottles.

When it comes to the alcoholic drink “Chiquita”, the fake one comes in glass bottles of 1.7 litres, both containing 37.5 per cent alcohol. The original comes only in one-litre bottles and contains 38 per cent alcohol.

Asked how it was possible to pass off the home distilled drinks as original, health services deputy head Christos Christou told the Cyprus Mail that the makers would have bought a number of the authentic drinks, taken off the labels off and copied them.

According to Christou, the company that imports the spirits has reported the crime to the authorities and is fully cooperating. “It hurts them more than anyone else. It’s in their best interest to resolve the case as soon as possible”, said Christou.

CP and Sons Ltd on the other hand, according to the health services, are selling a tequila named “Mexik” which they suspect wasn’t distilled at a licensed distillery. Authorities say that although no original brand was found under that name, the company was involved in distributing imitation drinks in the past.

The health services are waiting lab confirmation to move on with the case.

Christou said police would will file a case against any store or bar owner who has bought the imitation drinks. “These were sold at a much lower price than the original drink so whoever bought it was fully aware that something was wrong,” said Christou, asking people to notify authorities if they spot one of the suspected drinks.

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