Idaho State Police have bolstered the Alcohol Beverage Control Unit and are cracking down in Boise on infused alcohol such as bacon-infused whiskey and basil-infused vodka.
Lt. Russ Wheatley tells the Idaho Statesman the drinks violate Idaho law because the process of infusing the alcohol means taking alcohol out of a bottle and replacing it again.
Wheatley said something could be put in the liquor that makes people sick. Or an employee could replace one type of alcohol with a cheaper brand.
“From our perspective, (bars) have to sell liquor by the drink,” he said. “You can’t take it out of a bottle, replace it and then sell it again. That is illegal. This is really a consumer protection issue. We don’t know what people are putting in those bottles. There is a reason the rules are written the way they are.”
Red Feather co-owner Kevin Kelpe said he understands the strict interpretation of Idaho law but questions why it’s being enforced now when his bar staff has been infusing alcohol with flavors for a decade.
“I guess my question is: ‘How is this benefiting anyone?'” Kelpe said. “We don’t feel angry about it. But it is strange.”