One of the most prevalent practices that happen behind the bar to the determinant of the customer is switching to low grade alcohol. This goes along with bottle refilling. Empty bottles of premium label alcohol are saved and reused. The bar will use an empty premium labelled brand, refill it with the same kind of liquor but a less expensive brand. The bars are confident that the consumer cannot detect the difference in mixed drinks, relaying on the illusion of the label.

Switching to low grade alcohol encompassing lots of liquor law violations. Liquor laws that are broken when the contents of a bottle are switched for a less expensive liquor are cited by different State Liquor Control Boards differently, they all refer to switching the contents of a liquor bottle. The Liquor Law Violation Summons may be written using these phrases:

Refiling Liquor Bottles (refers to the act of exchanging one liquid in a bottle for another)

Reusing Liquor Bottles (refers to the act of saving empty bottles to refill with a liquid)

Misrepresenting Liquor (Refers to exchanging a different liquid for what is stated on the bottle label)

Adulterating Liquor (Refers to the act of changing the liquid in the bottle)

Substituting (Refers to the act of serving the customer a different drink than what was ordered)

Substituting without consent (Refers to the act of switching the liquor without customer approval)

Mislabeled (Different wording by State Boards referring to switching liquor in a bottle)

Adulterated label (Refers to the act of tampering with or changing the label on a liquor bottle)

When these citations are noted on a summons, they all refer to the same thing for the consumer, this establishment while serving you liquor has violated your trust and taken advantage of you economically. All bars adulterating liquor are violating the trust of their customers. The deception of substituting liquor is used to increase the profit margin of the bar. It is an economic and moral violation of the consumers trust.

Switching liquor bottles violation
Some bars switch to low grade liquor. Switching is an illegal alcohol practice.

Premium brand liquors cost more not just because of brand recongnition, for the most part these liquors undergo a longer distillation process and the liquor is a more refined drink. Catch phrases such as handmade, distilled in small batches, aged in oak barrels, all distinguish the premium liquor brands from their less expensive counterparts. Whether these slogans are true or not, they add value to the brand and account for the price difference of these brands on every level, wholesales, distribution and retail.

The alcohol beverage consumer only interacts directly with the retailer, it is on this level when the trust is broken. The retailer who is switching to low grade alcohol is charging a premium price for a liquor that has been exchanged for a low-grade substitute.

Misrepresenting liquor a practice that liquor control authorizes encounter around the world. It is not a new phenomenon, it is a new take on an old con game perpetrated throughout the ages. As long as there has been commerce there has been unscrupulous con men taking advantage of the customer to make money quickly out of the bounds of trust. Bars that are switching to low grade alcohol are not any different than the traveling medicine man who would hold up a bottle of elixir with promises of cures and powers far beyond the water and coloring in the bottle.

This brings us to the worst of the liquor establishments that are adulterating alcohol, those that switch the contents of bottles for fake alcohol. For these criminals, we now move beyond an economic and trust crime into the realm of a serious life and death crime. When Fake Alcohol is switched for the real alcoholic beverages, the health and safety of the customer is now put at risk for a quick profit. Fake alcohol has no quality control assurance at all. If fact most fake alcohol is made as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible to maximize profits. Fake alcohol is often made by mixing water and coloring with industrial grade alcohol which is not a consumable for humans. Fake Alcohol causes blindness, kidney failure, liver dysfunction, nerve damage, and a host of other health issues, including death.

By switching to low grade alcohol, the establishments that you trust when ordering a drink, are showing utter disdain for you when they are switching the contents of your drink.  There is not an innocent liquor violation concerning the switching to low grade liquor.  The way the liquor citation is written is not the key, Refiling Liquor Bottles, Misrepresenting Liquor, Adulterating Liquor, Substituting, Substituting without consent, or Mislabeled, the important takeaway here is that any bar that has been cited for this kind of liquor violation does not value you as a customer. If these establishments are willing to play con games with the liquor they serve you, you should decide not to buy it.

As a liquor customer, vigilance is of the utmost importance.  Beware of what you drink, take the time to investigate the violations that the establishment has received before you order a drink. Once you order a drink, smell it, sip it and let your senses tell you if there is anything suspicious about the beverage.  Ingesting as little as 4 milliliters of methanol or industrial alcohol can have life changing consequences. #DrinKSafe

Look at the Liquor Violations Enforcement list on for establishments that have been convicted in the past of liquor violations. 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

Report any establishment Switching Liquor Bottles Click to Tweet