Why you should only buy alcohol from a licensed supplier, wholesaler or retailer
Bought counterfeit vodka this Christmas? There's a big chance it was made in a filthy outhouse.
Counterfeit spirits, usually made in sheds and outhouses, are once again prominent on the market stalls this Christmas as it emerges that Revenue has seized 816 litres of the potentially lethal drinks. Revenue said that vodka is the most commonly counterfeited alcohol product - this year they also seized small quantities of counterfeit whiskey and gin.
From January to the end of November 2017, there have been 16 seizures in which Revenue officers seized 816 litres of counterfeit drinks and 4,000 litres of the raw alcohol product, which would produce in the region of 12,000 litres of counterfeit spirits.
This includes smaller seizures in February, August and September in Limerick, Cork and Louth. Revenue officers raided an illegal production facility for counterfeit vodka in Louth in November.
Pat Gralton is the Revenue enforcement manager in the Border Midlands West Region. He described how counterfeit alcohol is very likely to be produced in extremely unhygienic conditions, in sheds or farmyard outhouses, as was the case in one recent operation.
He said: "Legitimate alcohol is made using ethanol, which is safe for human consumption." He added:
Counterfeiters commonly substitute the ethanol with chemicals such as those used in cleaning fluids, nail polish remover and car windscreen wash, as well as methanol and isopropanol which are used in antifreeze and some fuels. These chemicals are very dangerous to human health.
Describing the production process for counterfeit alcohol, Gralton said: "Counterfeiters may use denatured industrial alcohol. They operate with no regard for public health and safety, using a make-shift production facility, and add chemicals to remove the colour and dilute the industrial alcohol. When it gets to the final product, you don't know what chemicals or other contaminants are in it, or what strength it is."