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New Jersey bars busted for serving rubbing alcohol as scotch

- The Washington Times - Friday, May 24, 2013

New Jersey investigators accused 29 bars and restaurants of switching out cheap alcohol for the more pricey brands — and, in at least one case, serving rubbing alcohol in place for scotch.

Among the restaurants caught in Operation Swill were 13 TGI Fridays, The Associated Press reported.

Among the establishments' offenses: Subbing in dirty water for premium-priced liquor. And mixing together rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring and voila — "scotch."

The investigation spanned a year and included collection of 1,000 bottles of vodka, gin, rum, scotch, whiskey and tequila from the bars, Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in the AP report.

"This alleged scheme is a dishonest ruse to increase profits and is a slap in the face of the consumer," he told AP.

The identified offenders have to provide state investigators with their sales and stock records within seven days. They also have to tell the names of the employees who worked at the time the investigators collected the tainted samples, AP said. TGI Fridays, meanwhile, issued a quick statement to the public.

"We want every assurance possible that our guests can continue to feel confident in the great food and drink they order at our TGI Friday's restaurants," said Rick Barbrick, president of The Briad Restaurant Group.

The AP said the bars and restaurants face suspensions of their liquor licenses and possible revocations if there are enough violations.

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