8 March, 2019
strip club owner charged with filling liquor bottles with water
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EAGLE RIVER - The owner of an Eagle River strip club has been charged with violating multiple state alcohol laws after an investigation found she was refilling vodka bottles with water.
Agents from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue's Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Unit investigated in November 2018 and discovered that the owner of Frontier Tavern, 55-year-old Carrie Jo Neumann, had refilled at least one liquor bottle with water, did not have licensed bartenders working and had alcohol on the premises that was not bought from a certified Wisconsin distributor, according to a criminal complaint.
Neumann told the agents she refills bottles with water to serve to the club's employees and dancers when customers want to buy them a drink. It is illegal to refill liquor bottles with any substance, even water, according to a press release from the Department of Revenue.
Agent Tyler Quam explained in the press release that this case is "somewhat unique because the bottles were being refilled with straight water, not with cheaper brands or being diluted."
During the investigation, agents found several opened bottles of vodka, rum, whiskey and tequila that were not listed on any purchase invoices for the club, according to the criminal complaint. Neumann told agents those were "personal use" bottles for employees and she allows them to bring their own alcohol to work because she doesn't want them drinking from the bar's stock.
All alcohol possessed at bars in Wisconsin must be properly documented and obtained from legitimate liquor and beer wholesalers to assure that drinks being sold and served are safe and fully taxed, Quam explained.
The state investigated Frontier Tavern in 2015 and 2017 and issued Neumann written warnings for similar violations, including refilling liquor bottles with water, according to the criminal complaint. She is now being charged with three misdemeanors.
Nuemann will make an initial appearance in Vilas County Court on March 25. If convicted, she faces up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year in prison and could lose her alcohol license.