Diluting Spirits Violation
Diluting spirits in bar with water

A common illegal liquor practice is diluting the spirits. This is easier to accomplish than most of the other practices used by bars to defraud the customer. Diluting the spirits can be done in various degrees depending on the excess profit that the bar is looking to make off on suspecting consumers. It is as simple as adding water to the liquor bottles. Adding water to liquor will increase the profit ratio by the same percentage of water that is added. The bar takes a half full liquor bottle and adds 1/3 water to the bottle, they have now increased their profit margin on that bottle of liquor by 33.3%.  The customer walks in orders a drink, the bartender reaches for the diluted liquor bottle, charges $8 for a mixed drink, the drinker has just paid $8 for 33.3% water.

Diluting Spirits
Bartender diluting liquor

Consumers think that they can’t be fooled. It is hard to tell if the liquor is full strength especially when used in a mixed drink. Served “neat”, straight without even ice, it should be easy to tell if the liquor has been watered down, maybe for the ardent drinker, but not for everyone. When bars are watering down liquor there are tricks for every circumstance. The way that unscrupulous bars treat the neat drinker, is to have two bottles of the same liquor open. The first couple drinks will be served from the liquor bottle that has not been diluted, after that it will be served from the watered-down bottle. After a couple of straight shots of liquor, it will be hard for anyone to detect the watered-down version other than you will not feel the effects as quickly or intensely.

Diluting the spirits is one of the oldest con games that bars use to increase their profit and deceive customers. Todays mixed drinks with sweet mixers, spicy mixers, and mixed liquors are ripe targets for diluted liquor. Even when the customer physically sees the bartender reach for the correct liquor there is no way to know that that bottle is 20% water, 30% water or sometimes even 50% water.

Every transaction in the marketplace relies on a bond of trust between the merchant and the customers, the trust between a bartender and a customer must be uncontested. The alcoholic beverage consumer can only rely on trust when ordering a beverage. It is so easy for establishments that serve alcoholic beverages to breech that trust. Diluting the spirits is one of the easiest ways to break the trust between drinker and bartender.

Alcohol Beverage Commissions take diluting the spirits seriously, it is however a hard crime to detect and catch. The number of inspectors needed to inspect and test all the open bottles in their jurisdictions is an insurmountable task. They rely on information and tips from employees and customers of liquor establishments to point their investigations in the right direction.

That is why SafeProof.Org asks for your help to protect consumers from Alcoholic Beverage Fraud.

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