A popular Fleetwood pub was caught selling counterfeit vodka to customers, a court has heard.
Trading Standards officers visited the Dockers Bar in December to carry out formal sampling on products and found a spirit being sold as “Glen’s Vodka” was not strong enough to be legally classed as vodka, Blackpool Magistrates’ Court heard.
Firm Fleetwood Dockers Ltd, based in Sale, Cheshire, admitted displaying a label which falsely described the food as Glen’s Vodka.
Company director Brian Stokes 50, of Ainsdale Avenue, Fleetwood, admitted the same offence by virtue of his role as director, and told investigators he had bought the bottles from “an off licence down the side of a bar in Spain”.
Receipts confirmed he had bought the bootleg bottles abroad, making a saving of around £30.
But he is now nearly £1,000 out of pocket after he and the firm were fined.
Prosecuting for Lancashire Trading Standards, Claire Box said: “The sample was sent to the county public analyst who confirmed that the sampled spirit was not genuine Glen’s vodka and was deficient in alcohol level.
“The sample contained 34.2 per cent alcohol when genuine Glen’s should contain 37.5 per cent alcohol, this being the minimum alcohol strength prescribed by law in order for a spirit to be described as vodka. In this case there was a deficiency of eight per cent.
She added: “Consumers expect and are entitled to receive the food or drink items that they ask for.
“There is a clear detriment to them if they receive a lower quality substitute.
“In the eyes of consumers, it doesn’t matter whether such actions are carried out intentionally or inadvertently, as they are losing out on value for their money and being misled as to what they are actually purchasing.”
The firm was fined £182 and must pay a £20 surcharge and £331.37 costs. Stokes must pay a £185 fine, with a £20 surcharge and £331.37 costs.
The sale of illegal alcohol costs the UK around £1.2 billion a year.
In other cases, fake or illegally produced alcohol has been found to contain potentially dangerous chemicals.