This fake vodka could kill you

Whether you made it or drank it,
this stuff was hazardous.

A gang in the UK was making counterfeit Glen's Vodka. Police found 9,000 fake bottles of fake vodka, manufacturing equipment, counterfeit labels and duty stamps, and enough raw material to fill 100,000 more bottles.

The vodka itself was made from denatured alcohol. Denatured, or "methylated" alcohol, is ethanol alcohol that has chemicals, primarily methanol, added to it. These chemicals are added to make the drinkable ethanol poisonous and undrinkable. Denatured alcohol also has a dye added to distinguish it from pure ethanol, which is clear.

If these chemicals weren't added, ethanol could be used for drinking. Then, however, the alcohol would be very cheap and liable to be abused, and governments couldn't tax it.

Since denatured alcohol is available at a much cheaper price than alcohol for drinking, the criminals found a source for denatured alcohol and used various processes to remove these chemicals. They also added bleach to remove the dye. The final product still contained many of these chemicals, which in high enough concentrations can blind or kill the drinker.

Besides the counterfeiting itself being illegal, authorities also said that a buildup of alcohol vapors and no safety measures could have caused the building containing the fake alcohol factory to explode.

The counterfeiters did not die. They were, however, sentenced to various terms in jail.

- Fake Vodka Gang Jailed, 96-106 Capital FM>>
- Booze brand plagued by counterfeiters, The Star>>

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