Issued By
  West Yorkshire Trading
  Standards Service





As we approach the Christmas and New Year period, officers from the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service will be visiting pubs, clubs and restaurants to take samples of branded spirit drinks to check they are the genuine item.

Previous surveys within West Yorkshire have shown that about 10% of spirits have been substituted by pouring cheaper or inferior drink into brand labelled bottles, and then selling them to unsuspecting customers at the price of the genuine article.

During 2001, seven West Yorkshire licensees have been prosecuted, with two more receiving formal cautions. Fines and costs imposed have ranged from £400 to £2300. The resulting adverse publicity has obviously had some effect and the incidence of substitution has been reduced in the last survey to 4.3%.

The International Federation of Spirit Producers is an association formed by the main spirit producers specifically to support Trading Standards authorities and assist in the protection of the brand holders and consumers alike. Philip Scatchard of the I.F.S.P. commented, “The vast majority of the UK’s licensees are professional and law abiding, but there are a few bad apples out there giving the rest of the trade a bad name. We are working closely with Trading Standards departments to help ensure that customers get what they are paying for.”

Martin Wood, Chief Trading Standards Officer for West Yorkshire added, “While the figures show a significant improvement and that the majority of licensees act honestly, we do not want to be complacent.  Sampling will continue over Christmas and New Year.  We intend to make product substitution a thing of the past.  The public should be able to trust they are getting what the brand they are paying for. The penalties for this offence can be significant, not only in terms of fines, but publicans also risk losing their licences”.


For further information contact:


Graham Hebblethwaite, Divisional Manager 0113 2898218


Robert Unwin, Enforcement Officer 0113 2898226


Steven Kaye, Principal Officer 0113 2898229


Richard Guthrie, Principal Officer 0113 2898221