Blackthorn Restaurant accused with filling bottles of alcohol with cheaper brands

blackthornState authorities raided 29 bars and restaurants across New Jersey on suspicion that they have been re-filling empty bottles of their most expensive liquors with cheaper alcohol.

Dubbed “Operation Swill,” the year-long investigation found the establishments fooled customers so they could charge higher prices and bolster their profits, according to a statement released by the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Authorities seized various liquors and inventory records from the establishments, the statement said. The investigation began as a result of complaints, confidential informants and new technology used to test liquor covertly purchased at the establishments by detectives.

Blackthorn Restaurant and Irish Pub, 1735 Route 46, TGI Fridays, East Hanover and Sona Thirteen, Morristown were among the only three local establishments. Also reported were about a dozen other TGI Fridays, although the Parsippany location was not named in the press release.

None of the establishments listed were officially charged and state authorities said they will release more information about the operation at a news conference at 11:00 a.m. Thursday in Trenton.