Diageo Introduces Apps to Authenticate Bottles

The application authenticates bottles by authorised distributors

Diageo Ethiopia Plc, the owner of Meta Abo Brewery and representative office of Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky, has introduced a new application to confirm products imported by authorized channels.

The application enables consumers to scan a QR code, a trademarked matrix barcode, on the bottle confirming the authenticity of bottles imported through authorised channels. The company has distribution agreements with Ethiopian Tourist & Trading Enterprise, NHY Importer and Coskal Ethiopian Plc to import its products.

Though Diageo International, the parent company, introduced the new QR code system three years ago, the local representative launched it only three months ago. The technology enables authentication by tracing each bottle from production to the retail outlet, and the bottles have seals and labels that cannot be reproduced. These security features are registered in the database of the company as a unique fingerprint for each seal, detectable using smartphones with a bar-code and QR code reader application.

To use the new system, consumers need to install i-nigma Mobi, an application used to read bar and QR codes from Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store, or the Windows Marketplace, as well as the application’s own website.

Diago International, headquartered in London, was founded in 1997 with the merger of GrandMet and Guinness. The company owns Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JEB, Buchanan’s and Windsor, Smirnoff, Ketel One, Ciroc vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio and Tanqueray, all well-known brands internationally. Its manufacturing plants are located in Britain, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Italy, Africa, Australia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Diageo’s many brands have been distributed in Ethiopia since 1995, with Johnnie Walker and White Horse whiskies are in the lead, making Ethiopia one of 180 countries that consumes spirits produced by the company. Diago International, through its subsidiary Diago Ethiopia, expanded its investment in the country by acquiring Meta Abo Brewery in 2012. Ambo Brewery was a formally state-owned business based in Sebeta town, Oromia Regional State, on the outskirts of Adiss Abeba.

Diageo has launched the QR code technology all over the world, including in neighbouring Kenya. The Kenyan government has also implemented the same technology to spot other counterfeit alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. It launched the system with Diageo under a public-private partnership arrangement.

The technology will build confidence in consumer products with this system, according to Aklilu Kefyalew, director of beverages at the Food, Beverage & Pharmaceuticals Development Institute.

“It would have been good if other beverages and food importer companies implement it,” he said.

A university lecturer at the School of Electrical & Computer Engineering in Addis Abeba University also recommends local manufacturers of food and beverages employ the new technology.

“The manufacturers have to stamp the seal on the bottle rather than on an attached paper on the bottle,” Ehenew Wonde (PhD) recommends.

Corrections & Clarifications: This story was edited on August 13, 2018, to correct what was previously reported about the application that was launched to detect against counterfeit products.


Published on Aug 15,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 955]



With a reformist administration in charge of the executive, there has b...


The new electricity tariffs that became effective on December 1, 2018,...


Who it is that midwifed the rapprochement between E...


Ethiopia’s economy is at a crossroads. The same old advice will not s...


A recent photo between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and George Soros...


The future is bleak. Millennials and younger generations who will inher...

View From Arada

There is heated debate on the propriety, decency and morality of breast...

Business Indicators


Editors Pick