Texas: TABC investigates cheap liquor sold as top shelf
By Myra Arthur
What you drink might not be what you think.
Since April, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has investigated bars, clubs and restaurants for switching top shelf liquor with cheaper brands and serving it to unknowing customers.
TABC investigators collected 153 samples from 68 retailers statewide by using undercover investigators who ordered “straight” samples of top shelf liquor by brand.
Forty samples from 21 of the retailers contained substituted liquor.
One of the bars serving substituted liquor is located in San Antonio, although the TABC will not release the name of the bar since its investigation is ongoing.
The cities in which the suspicious samples were collected include Houston, El Paso, College Station, Dallas, Fort Worth, Odessa, Addison, Mesquite, Irving, Katy and McAllen.
The TABC will not yet release the names of any of the businesses involved or information on the brands of liquor that were swapped.
Additional testing is still being conducted on the retailers that provided substituted samples.
If a retailer has only one violation and no previous history of liquor swapping, it will likely be given a warning.
Other retailers could face thousands of dollars in fines or lose their liquor licenses.
This is the first time the TABC has conducted such an investigation thanks to new equipment that allows testing of liquor samples.
The agency chose which retailers to test based on “areas of concern” identified by supervisors in the field.
Investigators did not test liquor stores or chains.
No other information was released.