Four people have been detained for filling foreign-brand beer bottles with cheaper local brews, Chaoyang authorities revealed Monday.
The Chaoyang District Administration for Industry and Commerce and the police inspected a Leizhuang village courtyard on June 16 after receiving tips from the International Federation of Spirits Producers (IFSP), according to a press release from the administration Monday.
The officers found a one-story apartment in the courtyard filled with beer bottles.
"The boss ran away," industry and commerce administration officer Guo Zunru told the Global Times Monday.
Sounds coming from behind a large cabinet drew the officers' attention. Moving the cabinet away, they found a narrow hole in the wall leading to another courtyard, where three women and a man were filling empty Heineken, Budweiser and Carlsberg bottles with local Beijing Beer.
"They used the larger bottles of Beijing Beer to fill the small bottles," Guo said. A 16-year-old woman working there told officers she could fill about 72 bottles of beer per hour, working from 8 am to 5 pm to earn her monthly 1,300 yuan ($201) salary. The man would then cap the bottles.
Usually, 500-milliliter bottles of Beijing Beer are sold for about 3 yuan ($0.46) in supermarkets, while a 330-milliliter bottle of Budweiser costs about 30 to 50 yuan ($4.63 to $7.72) at a nightclub, Liu Huan, an employee of the Gong Club in Chaoyang district, told the Global Times.
In total, officers found more than 11,800 labels for foreign liquor, 1,000 kilograms of baijiu in a tank and another 160 filled bottles of spirits.
"Usually, producers will hire a bartender to adjust the local alcohol's color and taste to make fake foreign liquor," Guo said, adding, "This alcohol was not so bad as to kill people."
The IFSP's Beijing office could not be reached for comment Monday, and Chaoyang police refused to comment on where the refilled bottles might have been sold.