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

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?