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The Massive Gin Recall That Hit Canada

Some 6,000 bottles of Bombay Sapphire are packing an unexpected punch.

Gin (and tonic).
Gin (and tonic). Andrés Nieto Porras/CC BY-SA 2.0

For a governmental agency whose primary purpose is to sell liquor, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario has a startlingly attractive and useful website, with recommendations on wine pairings and guides on how to make your beer dinner “fun and fabulous for everyone.

There is also, like most government websites, a section for press releases, the most recent of which contains some alarming or welcome news, depending on your point of view. Some bottles of Bombay Sapphire gin, the LCBO said May 2, had been removed from the agency’s stores after the gin was found to be 77 percent alcohol—and not the 40 percent listed on the label.

On Thursday, the National Post shed a little more light on the matter, reporting that a customer in Sault Ste. Marie had alerted the LCBO of the high alcohol content, and that around 6,000 bottles were potentially affected.

They will now be destroyed.

“If it’s going to be drunk in a guzzle, it’s very dangerous,” Larry Grupp, a pharamacology professor, told the Post. This is true, though it is also true for … well … all liquor, properly labeled or not.

If you see the code L16304W on your bottle, the LCBO said, you can return it for a refund. Or you can take a glass and some ice and give yourself a pour and take a risk with your eyes open and, just maybe, live a little. Responsibly, that is.