Dunedin, New Zealand – July 23, 2017

Richard Gray began innocently enough making his own beer from his one room flat in a part of town where fast food restaurants flourished. He soon branched out and began making whiskey, bourbon and vodka. His room now had a sign that said, “Gray’s Takeaways, Alcohol will not be served – sold to minors”. He was now in the alcohol business without a distillery.

Word spread and Mr. Gray’s Room became as popular as any alcohol takeaway store. He became known as the home brew man throughout the neighborhood and sold his bottles for $15 each. Mr. Gray estimates that his fake alcohol business was selling 10 – 20 bottles a week at his peak.

In early July his business was shut down by a police raid on his fake alcohol takeaway business. Richard Gray sold to the wrong group. It turned out that a group of customers who he sold to where only 15 years old. They began binge drinking, all got sick and ended up in the hospital.  Police were called and the group told everything. Where they got the bootleg liquor, how they went on a binge drinking it, and that was the end for Gray’s Takeaway.

Bootleg home brewer and distiller was selling his alcohol in town Click to Tweet

While standing outside the next evening Mr. Gray saw the police cars pulling up and he knew it was over. The police found records in Richard’s room indicating that he had made $32,000 on his home brewed fake alcohol. In court he pleaded guilty to being a unlicensed distributor of alcohol and was handed a $500 fine.

During the raid the police confiscated all his equipment and he is no longer able to brew his own beer. As far as the fake liquor, he said he never drank it anyway, it was too strong. He told prosecutors that he never let it go beyond 40% alcohol content, saying he had a gauge to measure it.

Sometimes even a nice man in the neighborhood can be the man producing counterfeit liquor that can lead to sickness or worse. To keep alcoholic beverages safe, if you know someone who is producing bootleg liquor without the proper know how, you can send an anonymous tip through SafeProof.org. As a consumer advocacy group for safe alcohol use, SafeProof.org maintains a database of alcohol enforcement agencies around the world. You can submit a tip about illegal alcohol anonymously and SafeProof.org will forward it to the appropriate authorities.

The mission of SafeProof.org is to raise awareness for Fake or Counterfeit alcohol and to keep liquor safe.  Search liquor enforcement using our map to keep you and your drinks safe. Report any illicit alcohol activity to us using our secure form or by calling (833) SAFE-TIP To get the latest Alcohol Alerts and violation updates in your area Sign-up for SafeProof.org emails and follow us on Twitter @SafeProofAlert