‘OPERATION SWILL’ — Is It The Greatest Name Ever For An Undercover Probe? Hard-Working New Jersey Revelers Allegedly Ripped Off In Their Purchases Of High-End Spirits

operationswillUPDATED 4:13 P.M. EDT (U.S.A.) If you repaired to your favorite New Jersey tavern on your way home after a hard day of work — and if you ordered a high-end spirit because it was payday or you simply preferred a premium brand — you might have been suckered in a “dishonest ruse to increase profits,” the state Attorney General said.

As part of a undercover probe by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), investigators posing as ordinary revelers ordered “neat” drinks of premium brands, saved samples, tested them with a device called a “True Spirit Authenticator” and tested them further at “the laboratories of the brand manufacturers,” investigators said.

Of the 150 samples tested, “30 were not the brand they purported to be,” investigators said. A “neat” drink contains no ice or mixers.

The spirits probe was dubbed “Operation Swill,” Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said.

operationswillfunnelsInvestigators believe at least 29 establishments were pouring cheap stuff into premium bottles to dupe patrons. Potentially even worse than brand-swapping, Chiesa said in a video on the website of USA Today, was that “dirty water” allegedly was used as a substitute in one of the taverns and that “rubbing alcohol and caramel color to simulate a scotch” also was used.

The state has released a map of evidence seizures in Operation Swill, along with a photo of funnels seized as evidence.

“Consumers should have the peace of mind of knowing that they will get what they spent their hard-earned money on every single time — no exceptions,” Chiesa said. “I believe Operation Swill will go a long way towards restoring that peace of mind and will also serve as a warning to anyone currently engaging in, or thinking about engaging in, this fraudulent practice.”

From a statement by the Attorney General’s Office (italics added):

The operation focused on the 29 establishments because of information from confidential informants, consumer complaints and testing of samples conducted by both the ABC and the manufacturers of the brands. The samples were taken in January and February when ABC investigators visited 63 licensed establishments across the state and covertly took 150 samples. The undercover ABC detectives visited these establishments and secured samples of premium brand spirits by paying for drinks ordered “neat” – that is with no ice or mixer. Some of the locations visited had previous complaints against them, and some were chosen at random.

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5 Responses to “‘OPERATION SWILL’ — Is It The Greatest Name Ever For An Undercover Probe? Hard-Working New Jersey Revelers Allegedly Ripped Off In Their Purchases Of High-End Spirits”

  1. Uh, that’s “caramel” color, right? Carmel’s a town.

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  2. What I don’t get is why no-one could tell they were being ripped-off. So much for being able to tell the “good” stuff from the “cheap” stuff. I would think you would know with the first sip.

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  3. K. Chang: Uh, that’s “caramel” color, right?

    Fixed at 4:13 p.m. Thanks, K. Chang.

    Patrick

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  4. I thought most american whiskey tasted of rubbing alcohol and caramel.

    For those who are brave enough, how about the Naga Chilli Vodka:
    http://www.masterofmalt.com/vodka/100000-scovilles-naga-chilli-vodka/

    Good crivvens, this stuff smells like pure evil, like the very blood of Satan himself. Such a pungent nose of chilli, it makes your eyes water just sniffing it.

    The Phillip Scholfield video is a hoot.

    [yes, I know about the other chilli vodka. Health & Safety prevents me providing a link to that one]

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  5. Tony H: [yes, I know about the other chilli vodka. Health & Safety prevents me providing a link to that one]

    LOL, Tony.

    Patrick

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