December 21, 2017 – Jersey City, NJ
The week of December 16 is the busiest week for retail purchases of Wine and Liquor. Holiday cheer has become associated with alcohol consumption. Unfortunately, in recent years the increase in fake liquor has also surged during the Holiday season. Headlines around the world are an indication of the extent of the fake alcohol problem. In December 2016, 72 died in Siberian from poisoned fake alcohol, with hundreds sicken. In 2015, 84 people in Mumbai died from fake alcohol poisoning. In February 2017, nine people died and over 100 were hospitalized after being poisoned by fake alcohol, 5,000 times stronger than would have been allowed in authentic alcohol. The list goes on, Germany, Britain, Ireland, Greece, Bali, Canada, Scotland, Russia, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, India, Nigeria, Turkey, Kenya, Namibia, Jamaica, Mexico have all had instances of deaths and or mass hospitalizations from tainted alcohol consumption.
Liquor Control Authorities, Police, Customs Agencies, Trading Standards, Interpol, and combined Task Forces are all reporting record confiscations of counterfeit alcohol. The uptick in confiscations of counterfeit alcohol indicates that there will be a prevalence of counterfeit alcohol this Holiday Season.
Safe alcohol consumption begins with awareness. No matter where you drink alcohol this Holiday Season, let your senses be your first line of defense when drinking alcohol. Fake vodka, fake whiskey, fake gin, fake wine and even fake Budweiser have all been seized by authorities throughout 2017. There is no guarantee that drinking at a friend or relatives house is safe, if fake alcohol was purchased from a retail establishment. Trust is however, your first line of defense to protect yourself from drinking tainted alcohol this Holiday Season.
When drinking in public this Holiday Season, only drink alcohol at a reputable establishment, that has not been charged with any alcohol violations in the past. Although in today’s quest for quick profits, even long-established restaurants, bars and nightclubs have been raided in 2017 for selling tainted alcohol. With excise taxes, and alcohol taxes on the rise throughout the world, even honest businessmen are falling to the temptation of extra profits from buying tainted alcohol from unscrupulous sources.
When you are served a holiday drink, use your senses. First look at the contents. Properly distilled liquor does not have any sediments. This is an important first step especially when consuming alcohol neat, straight from a shot glass. If a straight shot has sediment, either the alcohol is not safe, or the glass was dirty, either way, do not drink it. The same applies to mixed drinks, it will be more difficult to see sediment because of the mixers.
Always smell before you drink. Your nose knows. Most counterfeit alcohol is made with industrial alcohol, which has a distinctive odor. Your alcoholic drink should not smell like nail polish, antifreeze, chemical cleaners or windshield washing fluid. Reject any drink that has a chemical smell.
Take a small sip before you take a drink. Your taste buds are your next line of defense. Be aware of any chemical taste, burning sensations, and unusual sensations. If there is anything unusual, smell or taste, reject your drink.
When purchasing full bottles at a retail location, be aware of the label, the seal, and the liquid level. Look at all the bottles of the same product on the shelf. An authentic manufacturer fills their bottles to precisely the same level. If labels are not affixed properly, for example slightly off center, one higher than the next, creases, not glued on properly, these are all warning signs. Look at the bottle seals, large distillers take pride in their product, their labels and seals and perfectly affixed. Obviously if a word is misspelled on the label do not purchase it.
Take all the precaution you can when consuming alcohol every day, but especially during the holidays when counterfeit liquor producers and sellers count on your guard being down. If after taking every precaution, you don’t feel right after drinking, extreme headache, dizzy after one or two drinks, a prolonged hangover, you should seek medical attention.
SafeProof.org wishes all a safe, happy, healthy holiday season, and cautions you to #DrinkSafe.
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 @SafeProof #DrinkSafe