Refilling liquor bottles is a violation of Federal Law under 26 U.S. Code § 5301, specifically in subsection c. All 50 US States also have a law that prohibits refilling liquor bottles, along with every country in the world that regulates the sale of liquor. There are many reasons why law enforcement authorities do not want liquor bottles refilled. One reason is tax avoidance. Each bottle of liquor is taxed either by the bottle or by volume throughout the world. Reusing liquor bottles is tax fraud, which is an enforcement issue that is taken seriously by government officials everywhere.

The more crucial factor to be considered when liquor bottles are refilled or reused is consumer deception. When an establishment that sells liquor refills a liquor bottle the label on the bottle no longer means anything because the contents of the bottle are unknown except to the person who refilled it. Refilling liquor bottles takes many forms, all of which are illegal, deceptive and harmful.

Marrying Liquor Bottles

Bars serving liquor use a practice known as marrying bottles. The process of marrying bottles is to eliminate excess open bottles of the same liquor on display. Seemingly a harmless process of pouring the left over in one bottle into another for convenience, it can still result in harm. Marrying bottles to control the number of open bottles appears to be a harmless practice, by mixing the liquor from one bottle with another the chance of cross contamination increases. Even though the appropriate brand is poured into a correctly labeled bottle, they are from different distillation batches.  If one batch should be recalled for a quality problem, such as excessive alcohol or contaminates, the bottle code no longer reflects its content after marrying bottles. Marrying bottles is illegal in all 50 States and by most Liquor Control Boards and Laws throughout the world. Marrying bottles is only one step away from a more nefarious practice of refilling and reusing liquor bottle.

Refilling Liquor Bottles with a Lesser Grade Liquor

Most bars that are refilling liquor bottles have a profit motive in mind. Taking a Premium Brand Liquor bottle and refilling it with a

Refilling Liquor Bottles
Refilling Alcohol is Illegal

lesser grade liquor increases the profit margin of the serving establishment A shot of vodka from a premium brand may retail for $6. When the bar refills that branded bottle with a vodka that retails for $3 per shot, they have increased their profit margin by 50%. A customer would be hard pressed to distinguish the difference in a mixed drink or even in a vodka with ice. This practice of refilling liquor bottles with lesser grade content is a total violation of the customers trust and is only one step more step away from a deadlier practice that occurs when liquor bottles are refilled.

Refilling Liquor Bottles with Counterfeit Liquor

The most deceitful, harmful practice of refilling and reusing liquor bottles is filling them with fake alcohol. Counterfeit liquor is produced around the world. This fake alcohol is made by people with one thought in mind, profit. Their only concern is how they achieve this profit. The logistics of time, cost of supplies and content are the driving force in producing fake alcohol for profit. The quickest way for them to produce their deadly elixirs are to mix industrial alcohol with water and flavorings to simulate the brand that they are replicating. These practices produce fake alcoholic beverages that are deadly to consumers. They contain industrial alcohol not meant for human ingratiation that can lead to blindness, kidney damage liver problems and death. In recent years throughout Europe, where fake alcohol is prevalent these symptoms have been in the news.

The advent of the global marketplace has solved a lot of logistically problems for counterfeit alcohol producers. Through worldwide web sites fake alcohol makers are now able to order replica bottles, labels, caps, boxes and cartons branded with for the beverage they are counterfeiting. This makes detection harder for law enforcement, but deadly to consumers. Counterfeit liquor bottles refilled with fake alcohol the most egregious violation of the consumers trust.

Refilling Awareness

With all the ways that liquor bottles are being refilled to increase profits throughout the world, vigilance is the best protection. Take a smell, industrial alcohol often has a distinctive chemical smell, if it doesn’t smell right, don’t drink it. Take a small first sip of any alcoholic beverage, let your senses do their job. Does it taste right, does it burn, does it have an unusual aftertaste, these are all signs that something is not right.

Look at the Liquor Violations Enforcement list on for establishments that have been convicted in the past of refilling or reusing liquor bottles. Be Safe. Be Aware. Drink Safe.

The mission of 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 emails and follow us on Twitter @SafeProof

Refilling Liquor Bottles is Illegal Report activity to Click to Tweet