NJ franchisee: We'll fix any fake-liquor problems

Associated Press
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Funnels confiscated during an investigation dubbed "Operation Swill," in which 29 bars and restaurants in New Jersey are accused of putting cheap booze in premium brand liquor bottles and selling it, are displayed during a news conference, Thursday, May 23, 2013, in Trenton, N.J. Thirteen of the restaurants cited are TGI Fridays located in central and northern New Jersey. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey company that operates 13 TGI Fridays restaurants accused of secretly replacing premium liquor with low-quality booze says it's shocked at the allegations.

The Briad Restaurant Group said in a statement Thursday it "takes great pride in the quality of food and drink" it serves customers.

State officials say an investigation called Operation Swill uncovered 29 bars and restaurants that charged customers premium prices for cheap booze. They say at one bar a mixture that included rubbing alcohol and caramel coloring was sold as scotch.

Briad president Rick Barbrick says he wants to assure customers of his TGI Fridays franchises they're treated "honestly and fairly."

He says the company has begun its own investigation to learn if any of the allegations is true and will take immediate steps to correct any issues.