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American officials in Brussels tell HQ: 'The British are watering our whiskey'

The things you find in Wikileaks…

Is it whiskey? Is it water? HOW WILL WE EVER KNOW?
Is it whiskey? Is it water? HOW WILL WE EVER KNOW?
Image: Whiskey photo via Shutterstock

AMERICAN OFFICIALS based in Brussels sent a telegram to the State Department and a series of other high-ranking US facilities around the world – raising concerns that British officials were watering down US whiskey.

A telegram written in 1973, published by Wikileaks, raised concerns that Britain was surreptitiously diluting American liquors before selling them on to customers in Germany.

The message was sent to the Department of State in Washington, as well as the US embassies and consulates in West Germany, London and at the UN in Geneva.

The memo reads:

German customs have notified EC [European Communities, the precursor to the EU] customs officials that they have just received a shipment of quote finest four year old bourbon whiskey unquote from the Red Lion Blending Co [...] accompanied by a certificated [sic] issued by HM Customs Glasgow.

The certificate states that the product consists of 15,756 liters of bourbon whiskey produced in the United States, to which 935 gallons of water have been added producing a total quantity of 20,352.4 liters of quote finest four year old unquote.

This had the effect of reducing the alcohol volume from 55.1 per cent to 53.3 per cent, the memo said.

The US official to whom the allegation had been made said he would pass on the news to the US.

In particular, the news would be sent to those…

in charge of maintaining the good name and high alcoholic content of US bourbon whiskey.

The memo was classified when it was originally written, but declassified in 2005.

Read: Mystery over ‘hijacking incident at Dublin Airport’ 37 years ago

More: US noted Ireland’s ‘tendency to identify with North Vietnamese’ in 1973

In full: More from the latest tranche of Wikileaks files

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Gavan Reilly

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