There is growing evidence that fake expressions of high-end liquors are on the rise due to market demand and their high value. There are many stories about this happening in other countries, especially Mexico, but the United States is not immune to this problem.
As a restaurant owner, you need to be able to spot the difference between real and fake liquor almost instantaneously. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you suspect you’ve been defrauded.
- The label never lies
Oftentimes, counterfeiters who sell a lot of fake products also dabble in label making. These labels usually can’t pass an eye test, however. Check to make sure the print is clearly defined and all of the imagery is correct. If you suspect anything is out of place, don’t purchase. It’s as simple as that.
2. If there’s no plastic on the neck, you’re in trouble
Every bottle of liquor you purchase has a plastic wrap around the neck. Even if you’re buying cases at a time. For high end brands like Hibiki whisky, they imprint their name in the plastic wrap. This is incredible difficult for counterfeiters to reproduce because it requires special machinery that is too expensive to invest in if you’re just trying to rip some people off to make a quick buck.
- If the price is way below market value, don’t buy
This tip can be the most difficult one for restaurant owners to abide by. But, trust me, this one will save your business. Duty free stores in airports often sell liquor at below market value, and many have been caught selling products with methanol, a compound that is made from a similar process as distilling spirits but carries much harsher health risks. Getting a good deal is one thing, but getting taken for a ride is a whole other game you don’t want to play. Especially if it means getting customers sick and losing your liquor license.
- Always buy from a trusted source
This one seems fairly elementary, but there are restaurateurs who want to get the best deal no matter what. If a customer comes up to you one day and says they can get you a steady supply of Chivas Regal from a friend, be very skeptical. If their friend doesn’t work for a liquor distributor, then stay away. Your business is not worth losing over a case of fake booze.