Nearly 30 bars and restaurants in New Jersey are being investigated for allegedly charging patrons for top-shelf liquor but pouring them cheaper varieties, the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control said Wednesday.
Yesterday’s, a restaurant, bar and liquor store in Marmora, Upper Township, is among the 29 establishments being investigated as part of “Operation Swill,” a yearlong effort which used more than 100 investigators to seize beverage inventory records after receiving complaints and testing samples of alcohol.
“These charges are completely untrue and without merit,” said Jeff McIntyre, one of the owners of Yesterday's, in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “The McIntyre family and Yesterday’s stands 100 percent upon their reputation, personal and professional integrity and contribution to the community over the last 37 years.”
Authorities said they would release more information about the investigation on Thursday at 11 a.m. in the Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton. It was not clear in the ABC’s statement whether formal charges are being filed against these establishments.
Other South Jersey establishments that were investigated were Graziano’s Ristorante in Chesilhurst, Villari’s Lakeside in Gloucester Township, Italian Affair in Glassboro and Sunset Tavern in Burlington Township. Most of the locations were in North Jersey.
In a similar recent case, Laguna Grill and Martini Bar in Brigantine reached a settlement with the ABC for defrauding patrons by swapping inexpensive vodka for premium brands. In that case, the bar manager was refilling Three Olives bottles with Burnett’s flavored vodka, and pouring Absolut vodka into Ketel One and Stolichnaya bottles.
The restaurant was ordered to close for a week and pay $23,000 in fines. The business was later sold and is currently under new management.