If you’ve ever felt like you paid way too much for a shot of liquor in New Jersey, chances are you weren’t being paranoid, according to police. Investigators say 29 New Jersey bars and restaurants may have ripped off their customers by filling premium brand bottles with lower quality alcohol.
The findings were a result of a year-long operation, named “Operation Swill.” Officials say more than 100 state investigators participated, acting on information provided by citizen complaints, confidential informants and new technology used to test samples taken from the licensed establishments.
Police say the investigation indicates that 29 establishments were filling premium brand bottles with non-premium brands in order to fool their customers and increase their profits. Officials say customers paid for the premium brand but were instead secretly poured the non-premium brand.
On Wednesday, at 11 a.m., the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control raided the establishments and seized inventory. They also served demands for records from the targeted bars and restaurants.
Police say the following establishments in New Jersey were targeted in Operation Swill:
Railroad Café, East Rutherford; The Brick House, Wycoff; Sunset Tavern, Burlington; Graziano’s Ristorante, Chesilhurst; Villari’s Lakeside, Gloucester Township; Yesterdays, Marmora; TGI Fridays, West Orange; Italian Affair, Glassboro; Bells Tavern, Lambertville; TGI Fridays, East Windsor; Brunswick Grove, East Brunswick; TGI Fridays, Old Bridge; TGI Fridays, North Brunswick; TGI Fridays, Piscataway; TGI Fridays, Freehold; TGI Fridays, Marlboro; TGI Fridays, Hazlet; Murray’s, Dover; TGI Fridays, East Hanover; Sona Thirteen, Morristown; Blackthorn Restaurant, Parsippany; Ruby Tuesday, Bridgewater; TGI Fridays, Linden; Café 34, Matawan; Applebee’s, Kearny; Cucina Calandara, Fairfield; TGI Fridays, Woodridge; TGI Fridays, Springfield; TGI Fridays, Clifton.
State officials plan to announce on Thursday what the penalties against the establishments will be.