New Jersey police raided 29 bars and restaurants across the state in what they are calling "Operation Swill," an attempt to uncover cases where establishments served low-grade alcohol as top-shelf liquor.
According to the Star-Ledger, police said one bar made "scotch" out of rubbing alcohol and caramel food coloring.
"What these 29 establishments have allegedly done threatens the integrity of the alcoholic beverage industry as a whole," state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in a Thursday news conference.
This alleged scheme is a dishonest ruse to increase profits, and it is a slap in the face of the consumer. The consumer should have the peace of mind to know that when they pay for something, they get exactly what they paid for, no exceptions.
According to ABC News, 13 of the 29 bars and restaurants raided by police were TGI Fridays.
The restaurant chain issued this statement in response:
TGI Fridays was just made aware of this issue and is working closely with the franchisee and owner of the cited locations to review and investigate these serious allegations. We have one of the most extensive bar and beverage programs in the industry, which sets a very high standard in the quality and service of our beverages.
As for the rubbing alcohol, Chiesa said he thought it was "pretty dangerous."
"I wouldn't drink rubbing alcohol in my house. It serves a very specific purpose: to rub," he added.
A doctor told the Star-Ledger that the product is dangerous in large quantities -- just like high-quality liquor.
Authorities seized 1,000 bottles of alcohol in the investigation, which was prompted by customer complaints, samples testing and informants.