The Latest "Inflation Evasion" Scam: Bars Serving Caramelized Rubbing Alcohol Instead Of Scotch

Tyler Durden's picture

In the past, food and alcoholic beverage makers got in trouble for attempting to cover the impact of inflation (such as the 12% Y/Y increase in Fed employee salaries) by diluting the content, or simply serving less, of their products while keeping the price constant: the same thing as rising prices, but optically more palatable to less than sophisticated consumers. That was the past. A new breed of industrious, high profit margin-seeking alcohol vendors have decided to skip this protocol entirely and instead of serving booze, have opted to replace the product outright. As AP reports, at numerous New Jersey bars, including 13 TGI Fridays restaurants, owners were accused of substituting cheap booze while charging premium prices. The profitability at all costs situation was so bad that at one bar, a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch. In another, premium liquor bottles were refilled with water — and apparently not even clean water at that.

State officials provided those new details Thursday on raids they conducted a day earlier as part of a yearlong investigation dubbed Operation Swill.


As part of Operation Swill, investigators collected 1,000 open bottles of vodka, gin, rum, scotch, whiskey and tequila from the wells of the bars, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said.


“This alleged scheme is a dishonest ruse to increase profits and is a slap in the face of the consumer,” Chiesa said.


Within seven days, the establishments must turn over records to help state authorities determine how many patrons were overcharged and by how much. They also will have to inform the state which employees were at work the days samples were covertly taken earlier this year.

Being ripped off at bars by industrious dilutive bartenders is hardly new, however it has taken on a new life ever since Bernanke started diluting the fiat supply:

In January and February, investigators went to 63 establishments they suspected were scamming liquor customers. They ordered drinks neat — that is, without ice or mixers — and then covertly took samples for testing.


Of 150 samples collected, 30 were not the brand as which they were being sold.

Somehow we doubt The Briad Group will make a big public announcement about just how it is that it manages to post very healthy profits, even if the patrons drinking its "booze" hardly are:

TGI Fridays Inc. said it was conducting its own investigation, working with the franchisee that owns the 13 restaurants cited, The Briad Group.


Briad, based in Livingston, said it “takes great pride in the quality of food and drink” served at its TGI Fridays franchises and was troubled and surprised by the allegations. It said in an emailed statement it would take immediate steps to correct any problems it identified.


“We want every assurance possible that our guests can continue to feel confident in the great food and drink they order at our T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants,” said Rick Barbrick, president of The Briad Restaurant Group.

And if TGIF is doing it, everyone else is.

What is confusing to us is why there is so much anger at such criminally dilutive operations in our every day lives, yet nobody dares to lift a finger at that uber-dilution mastermind, who literally dilutes the fiat supply (and yes, money is fungible, and yes, reserves will spill out into the broader economy sooner or later: just as soon as banks realize they can no longer make easier money in assorted rigged capital markets) to the tune of 2.5% each month, Ben Bernanke?

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The Thunder Child's picture

Nobody messes with the scotch, that's below the belt.

francis_sawyer's picture

When it's time to ReRax... Make it 'Suntory' time...


"Canned Heat" bitchez!... The choice of 'The Andromeda Strain' generation

In Michael Crichton's 1969 novel "The Andromeda Strain" and the 1971 movie based on it, one of the survivors of the deadly extraterrestrial virus is an old man addicted to "Squeeze". Constant consumption of Sterno has altered his blood pH, making him at least temporarily immune to the disease.

Manthong's picture

time to unleash the muslims with meat cleavers here

francis_sawyer's picture

I'll take 'POTENT POTABLES' for 100 CheesePopeBux Alex...

Manthong's picture

retribution for unconscionable atrocities against humanity

then again.. those in-room serving carts in upscale hotels may have a hidden benefit once the filet is ate and Dom or Moet is all downed.

 obviously, some folks are not fans of acerbic low wit which is the essence of sarcasm  :-D

i'll take "squeeze" for 200, Alex

krispkritter's picture

Thank Greed, It's Fake...

gmrpeabody's picture

You could walk into the local TGIF here in a couple of hours, and there'll be some wannabe ordering call scotch to impress the gal from accounting. None of them ever hearing of this news, none of the help hearing of the news for that matter.

Divided States of America's picture

A few of the local pubs nearby are also serving warm beer....actually very warm smelly beer.

flacon's picture

I usually only buy name-brand beer that is in the bottle at bars. Even the "draft" beers are watered down. 

Ying-Yang's picture
Drinking rubbing alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning. The symptoms of alcohol poisoning are vomiting, confusion, slow breathing (less than eight breaths per minute), seizures, low body temperature, pale or blueish skin and unconsciousness. All of these symptoms will not necessarily be present in every case of alcohol poisoning. In cases of isopropyl ingestion, because of its strong effect on the central nervous system, a person may experience lethargy or ataxia, or may go into a coma. Because isopropyl also affects the GI tract, a person who has drunk it can have stomach pain, cramps and hemorrhagic gastritis. Someone who has ingested rubbing alcohol will also have a fruity smell to his or her breath.
akak's picture


Drinking rubbing alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning. The symptoms of alcohol poisoning are vomiting, confusion, slow breathing (less than eight breaths per minute), seizures, low body temperature, pale or blueish skin and unconsciousness.

I think you just described the average man on the average Sunday morning in Lower Slobovia.

merizobeach's picture

If you're shithead enough to live in New Jersey, then you're shithead enough to drink rubbing alcohol at your local bar.  Carry on.

SheepleLOVEcheddarbaybiscuits's picture

Who orders a scotch from TGI Fridays?

francis_sawyer's picture

Hey c'mon man!... Thatz where Brian Flanagan cut his teeth before makin' it big time at the SELL BLOCK...

Manthong's picture

just for s&g's and fyi to all .. I have not purchased an adult beverage at retail for at least 4 years,,

and barely partake at all anymoar..

I am still trying to pull that same trick off with banks.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Who even walks into a TGI Fridays??? Anytime I have to go into a chain restaurant, I just assume I'm going to get food poisoning.

gmrpeabody's picture

I've known restaurants to pour cheap wine into expensive empty bottles and serve it.

Some restaurant management is no different that your average banker, just more broke.

WmMcK's picture

Anytime I have to go into a chain restaurant, I just assume I'm going to ...

the bathroom.  

pods's picture

And for dessert can I have the Explosive Diarrhea please?

Like Taco Bell; if you sit down to eat, the food never leaves the building.

Runs through you like a Japanese Bullet Train!



merizobeach's picture

The Tex-Mex Bullet Train?

kaiserhoff's picture

It's an ethnic thang.

I'm a marker's mark kinda guy.  Does rubbing alcohol taste better or worse than burnt rubber bands?

mkkby's picture

It tastes great, but only with the TGIF seabiscuit burger and fish free sushi.

Vic Odd's picture

"Who orders a scotch from TGI Fridays?"

Answer: People who can't tell scotch from caramel colored rubbing alchohol.

max2205's picture

Opps....somebody forgot to make the weekly payoff to the 'inspectors'

smlbizman's picture

if they treat the drinks like know the food is on the up and up

gmrpeabody's picture

Ummm boy..., I'll have your 100% grass fed free range Tillamok cheese burger.

quasimodo's picture

2 years and 30 pounds ago I would salivate over the chicken fingers with honey musTARD sauce, damn those are goooood. Then I would wonder why the next morning I was shitting through a screen door at 30 feet and feeling run down. Not to mention those damn fries that leaves one tasting the spices two days later........BELCH

Vic Odd's picture

They dont go there for food and drinks, they go there for the flair.

blueRidgeBoy's picture

I'm not really comfortable talking about my flair

El Oregonian's picture

They got Jacked! And it wan't even Jack Daniels but rather Jack Sh*t...

WmMcK's picture

It's a Yukon, love that Jack weekend.

TerminalDebt's picture

yeah you're allowed to say meat cleavers. Pressure Cookers are a different animal though.

kaiserhoff's picture

Only on Fridays, but no pork chop jokes, unless you have a back stage pass from Saturday Night Live.

Freddie's picture

NJ is filled with Musilims.

Divine Wind's picture



LOL. When I lived in the Orient Suntory was my preference.

Also used it to clean cuts and insect bits and to take street grime off my motor bike.

Jekyll_n_Hyde_Island's picture

Huh.  Old High school trick there -- raiding the ol' parents liquor cabinet.  Here's the problem though: this shouldn't surprise anyone.  We've replaced the dollar with toilet paper, why not dilute some booze with the expectation that the sheep won't know the difference?

  That's where these business admin grad, TGIF managers intellect resides. 

  Between you and me, I'm surprised the vacuous idiots that frequent TGIF were able to tell the difference.


  Although it does explain why my long island iced tea tasted like non-potable water and muskox drool.


knukles's picture

That's funny..."non-potable water and muskox drool"

Dr. Richard Head's picture

Grandpa used to say America is one missing cup of coffee away from revolution.  But scotch?!?!?!  Shit, the guillotines may roll out now.

underman's picture

That's just it!  Until there's a missing cup of coffee!  There will be no revolution as long as we get our lattes. 

MachoMan's picture

The value of the lawsuit took a serious hit when this information hit the public airwaves...  Although, you can now try and cozy up to a class action I guess...  individual damages are...  nil...  unless physical injury occurs.  Might be some statutory damages for bait and switch type consumer protection laws depending on the jurisdiction...  but, generally speaking, the damages are nil. 

Dingleberry's picture

Just drink bottled beer like I do. Problem solved.

Godisanhftbot's picture

 That's already my drink of choice. Glad to see it's catching on.

Cdad's picture

I do all of my drinking at CVS these days.  I can usually get a half bottle of mouthwash down before anyone notices me.

NotApplicable's picture

Gotta love the places that still keep Robitussin DM on the shelves.