Examples of fraud ranged from filling premium-brand bottles with cheap alcohol and selling it at premium prices, to pouring dirty water into empty liquor bottles and selling it, and even selling colored rubbing alcohol as whisky.
A recent New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control investigation known as “Operation Swill” led to a list of 29 bars and restaurants – including both local businesses and national restaurant chains – being charged with fraudulently selling liquor to their customers.
Three chain restaurants with locations in Utah – Applebee’s, Ruby Tuesday, and TGI Fridays – were on that list of liquor retailers. TGI Fridays was especially implicated, accounting for 13 of the 29 alleged fraudulent operations.
While all of these instances of alleged fraud occurred in New Jersey, this deceptive marketing practice of liquor retailers should be of concern to Utahns and Utah policymakers, especially since legislators recently passed specific legislation to encourage the kind of chain restaurants implicated in New Jersey (i.e., restaurants with full-service alcohol sales) to move to or expand in Utah. As one imbibing blogger at Slate (not exactly a right-wing author or publication) put it: “If the bait-and-switch is happening in New Jersey, it’s happening elsewhere, too.” Read more