Food Dye + Rubbing Alcohol = Scotch at One Jersey Bar

A blog about business and economics.
May 23 2013 2:55 PM

Operation Swill: Jersey Putting Cheap Hooch In Premium Bottles And Selling It

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LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 20: Nick Shepherd, president and CEO of Carlson Restaurants, parent company to T.G.I. Friday's speaks during a keynote address during the 28th annual Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center on March 20th, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Nightclub & Bar Media Group

If you order a nice scotch from a bar, how do you know that the bartender's serving you the real thing and not some garbage dressed up in a nice bottle? Well in theory if you're prepared to pay a premium for your liquor you ought to be able to taste the difference. But New Jersey investigators' "Operation Swill" revealed today that quite a few Jersey establishments are pulling the wool over their customers' eyes. One unnamed bar mixed rubbing alcohol with food dye and sold it as scotch.

Perhaps most striking is that 13 of the 29 cited establishments are outlets of TGI Fridays, so it's fully possible that similar issues exist at other Fridays' in other states.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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