Scotch drinkers want the real deal

Hi-tech help will soon be available for discerning South Korean drinkers who suspect they are being served fake Scotch.

Local bottlers from next year will be urged to incorporate radio frequency identification (RFID) chips in their 21-year-old whisky blends, Thursday's Korea Times said.

"Then people will easily be able to check through their cellphones whether or not any whisky is genuine," Assistant Minister of Information and Communication Yang Jun-Cheol was quoted as saying.

Yang said the government would encourage local whisky bottlers to embed RFID chips in bottles of 12-year-old and 17-year-old blends by 2012.

The project is part of efforts to boost the RFID business, he said, with the tags expected to be extended to other areas such as logistics, distribution and the production of top-end items.

He said RFID chips are currently still too expensive, at 300 won, to use widely but the cost was expected to fall to as little as 10 won in the next decade.

South Korea's drinkers are increasingly turning to luxury brands of Scotch.

Between January and September last year, sales of whiskies at least 17-years-old expanded 9.6 percent from a year earlier to 494,245 18-bottle boxes. Standard whisky sales fell slightly in the same period.

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