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Bacon Infused Vodka Leads to Arrest of Oklahoma Bartender

Bacon Infused Vodka Leads to Arrest of Oklahoma Bartender

Leave the bloody marys alone!

Adding strips of bacon to bottles of vodka lead to a three-day, tax-payer-funded stay in county lock-up and a few criminal charges for one Oklahoma bartender.

According to The Pump Bar’s owner, the state’s laws on alcohol infusions are opaque at best.

The Pump Bar has been infusing vodka with bacon, garlic, and jalepenos to serve in their brunch bloody marys.

Local news reported:

Back in February, the ABLE Commission was called out to investigate a noise complaint. While it didn’t find any noise problems, there was something else suspicious.

“They found bottles of alcohol were being emptied, contents put in the liquor and put back into the bottle,” said M.Sgt. Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

The police report shows a list of things – garlic, pickles, beef and even bacon, being infused into vodka.

“Obviously this is a violation of law,” he said. “You cannot pour alcohol out and pour anything back into the bottle then serve it.”

Initially, the bar and on-duty manager Colin Grizzle, were warned. But, Knight says the VICE unit was called back in April and again found infused liquors.

“You simply cannot do that,” he said. “Regardless of what you’re putting in it, even if it’s just water.”

Grizzle was hauled off to jail. The Pump’s owner, Ian McDermid, tells FOX 25 his employee spent three days behind bars.

“There was no second thought to go to bat for our man after he was arrested on the job for criminal charges,” McDermid told us over email. “We believe there was no violation.”

Yet another tangle to the state’s case is the various other establishments known for selling infused drinks that have yet to be cited or charged for doing so.

KGOU reported:

During June’s ABLE Commission meeting, director Keith Burt said he hadn’t received a notice from the Oklahoma City Police Department about the arrest. John Maisch, a former ABLE attorney, presented the declaration to commissioners, who seemed supportive of the infusion process. But they decided to hold off on answering questions, Denwalt writes:

“If the restaurants are doing something unlawful, then they need to be notified that it’s unlawful,” Maisch said. “There are dozens of restaurants throughout the state of Oklahoma that are infusing drinks, so if it’s illegal then someone has neglected to tell them.”

The ABLE Commission could present its ruling at the next meeting on July 15.

McDermid says he’s losing thousands of dollars in bloody mary sales to customers brunching at other locals who’ve not been dinged for serving infused drinks.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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Sigh, once a bottle is opened, in can be poured, not refilled. Keeps people from watering the drinks and charging full price, or selling the cheap stuff as the top brand.

    Paul in reply to genes. | June 28, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Yeah! Stupid people are too stupid to know if their vodka is really water! Or if they want flavor in their vodka! We’re from the government and we’re here to help!

    RodFC in reply to genes. | June 28, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    If the liquor is being used only to make mixed drinks, then by definition the drink is doctored.

    If the guy were to pour and serve it as vodka that would be one thing.

    I have never heard of someone ordering a bloody mary and specifying the brand of vodka.

    I wonder if it would be legal, if he kept in bottles that were not the original bottles.

    Matthew Carberry in reply to genes. | June 29, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    To paraphrase Homer Simpson, just because we think a law is outdated and stupidly applied, doesn’t mean we don’t understand its origin and justifications.

    Here in the modern world, most states don’t have these laws, or wisely allow them to sit unenforced in situations where the only “adulteration” is infusion of which the customer is fully aware.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to genes. | June 29, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    So the cops are trying to protect flavored vodka manufactures and their overpriced products? More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better, in fact especially when it comes to alcoholic beverages, at least to my uncultured palate, most of the time the really expensive stuff is just nasty.

    What this guy is doing is basically using cheaper hooch and infusing it and then selling it cheaper than he could have if he just bought it already infused. I have a buddy that is a bartender and he said the practice is common around here, but they aren’t charging top level prices for it either.

    Also, the spotty enforcement makes me wonder what else is going on.

Gremlin1974 | June 28, 2016 at 9:06 pm

I wonder how many drug dealers, Crack houses, and hookers the VICE squad had to drive by to get to these obviously dangerous criminals? I mean it isn’t like there is real crime going on, right?

Nobody can “abide” all the laws we now have hovering over us.

And…damn…I’ll have to try that infusion SOON…!!!

    legacyrepublican in reply to Ragspierre. | June 29, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Isn’t that kind of legal arugment an Ad Hic? 😉

      DaveGinOly in reply to legacyrepublican. | June 29, 2016 at 12:55 am

      “What else than ignorance of the law is it that excuses judges themselves for all their erroneous decisions? Nothing. They are every day committing errors, which would be crimes, but for their ignorance of the law. And yet these same judges, who claim to be learned in the law, and who yet could not hold their offices for a day, but for the allowance the law makes for their ignorance, are continually asserting it to be a ‘maxim’ that ‘ignorance of the law excuses no one;’ (by which, of course, they really mean that it excuses no one but themselves; and especially that it excuses no unlearned man, who comes before them charged with a crime.)
      “This preposterous doctrine, that ‘ignorance of the law excuses no one,’ is asserted by courts because it is an indispensable one to the maintenance of absolute power in government.”

      Lysander Spooner – An Essay On The Trial By Jury (1852)

By golly, if our neighbors to the north have to drink 3.2 beer they should be able to enjoy their bacon vodka.

    smalltownoklahoman in reply to Old0311. | June 29, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Actually you can buy stronger beer here, just at a liquor store and not at a gas station or grocery store. Can’t buy it already cold either, gotta take it home and chill it yourself. If you want a cold one of decent strength fast you pretty much have to go to a bar or restaurant licensed to sell it.

This doesn’t sound all that opaque. It’s law regulating the bottling of alcohol products, and the proper legal labeling thereof; both of which have been heavily regulated in the US for many years. It’s not a law about bacon-flavored vodka, which is already a common commercial product.

Aside from this, there’s just the general principle of don’t-rob-the-customer. Don’t sell the cheap crap for fancy crap prices. I.e., don’t top up the half-empty bottle of Gray Goose with cheap poison like Popov, or even with Hawkeye Bacon (pre-bacon infused, but still cheap poison). I can’t believe that any bartender in America doesn’t know this. It does happen, and too often, but the perps don’t usually pretend that they didn’t know what they were doing.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to tom swift. | June 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    “This doesn’t sound all that opaque. It’s law regulating the bottling of alcohol products, and the proper legal labeling thereof;”

    Which he was apparently labeling the stuff infused in house.

    “both of which have been heavily regulated in the US for many years.”

    Yea, that prohibition thing worked out real well.

    “It’s not a law about bacon-flavored vodka, which is already a common commercial product.”

    Nope, its a law about excessive government control.

    “Aside from this, there’s just the general principle of don’t-rob-the-customer.Don’t sell the cheap crap for fancy crap prices.”

    Yea, there is no evidence that he was doing so, nor is there evidence that the was being dishonest about what he was selling. Nice way to throw out a baseless accusation though.

    “I.e., don’t top up the half-empty bottle of Gray Goose with cheap poison like Popov,or even with Hawkeye Bacon (pre-bacon infused, but still cheap poison).”

    Where are you getting this stuff from, the voices or Mrs. Cleo? Also, your personal opinions about different brands of Vodka are irrelevant. Personally, I think all Vodka is basically worthless hooch. Now, Scotch, that’s the stuff.

    “I can’t believe that any bartender in America doesn’t know this.
    It does happen, and too often, but the perps don’t usually pretend that they didn’t know what they were doing.”

    And another baseless accusation, no one has said he was watering down anything or mixing brands. He was apparently doing it per bottle and then putting it back into the same bottle with his own label that it was “infused with ________.

    Tom you and I pretty much see eye to eye on most things, but I have to tell you buddy, this time you have gone off the reservation and have crested the next rise.

    Also, ask yourself why this particular place is being targeted when there are other places in town that do the same thing, but aren’t being harassed?

American Human | June 29, 2016 at 7:43 am

“Wow, that’s too much bacon!”

Said no one, ever!!

I see that the long arm of the loo had finally captured that vodka-infusing mastermind!

But now I wonder? If the chief law enforcement officer of the country says that it’s OK for men to be infused in woman’s bathrooms and then to empty the bathroom and then reuse the same bathroom over and over, then what’s the problem here?

Anyway, infusion is in the stomach of the beholder.

Those laws are in place to protect consumers. Anyone that has worked in the liquor industry knows that you can’t refill bottles once they’re opened. So, if the bartender wants to display his mixological brilliance he’ll need to find another way.

I assume, based on nothing at all, that not every customer wants to have a drink infused from the bottle, and therefore the bar has un-infused liquor available, too.

Just gotta put a homemade label on the infused bottles?

The law is in place for a simple reason, bars have been known to put spirits, other than those which originally came in a bottle into a particular bottle, usually to increase profits by either adulterating the spirit, before dispensing or by putting a cheaper product into the bottle and charging premium prices for it. The law is designed to protect the consumers from fraud and potential health issues due to adulterated product. And, if someone ends up with ethanol poisoning from drinking homemade vodka poured from a Grey Goose bottle, the Grey Goose bottler should not have to defend himself from civil damages. If the bar wants to use infused spirits, then they need to find a bottler who will infuse it for them.

The bar was warned and chose to ignore that warning. They have no one to blame but themselves.

    Matthew Carberry in reply to Mac45. | June 29, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Or, perhaps, only enforce the law against those actually committing fraud, or adulterating with dangerous substances, without the full knowledge of their competent, adult customers.

    Until such time anyway as the Legislature rewrites the law to exclude modern, nationally common, and harmless, bar practices like openly stated infusion. You know, joins the modern world?

    Wonder which side the liquor distributors would come down on, to protect their little rice bowl?

From the Oklahoma Code:

§37-584. Refilling container with certain substances prohibited.
No holder of a mixed beverage, beer and wine, caterer, special event, public event or airline/railroad beverage license shall refill with any substance a container which contained any alcoholic beverage on which the tax levied by Section 553 of this title has been paid.


§37-582. Containers not listed on wholesaler license – Penalties.
A. No mixed beverage, beer and wine, caterer, public event or special event licensee nor any officer, agent or employee of such licensee may possess or permit to be possessed on the premises, for which such license was issued, any container of an alcoholic beverage which is not listed on an invoice from the wholesaler from whom the alcoholic beverage was purchased, unless otherwise permitted by statute.

The first passage pretty clearly prohibits taking the booze out of the original container, fiddling with it, and putting it back in the same container, so that’s probably what got the bar in trouble.

The second passage seems to say that you can’t take it out of the original container, fiddle with it, and put it in any *other* container either… Although as written it might seem to also outlaw a mixed drink in a cocktail glass, so I’m not sure exactly what the parameters of this passage might be. There’s no legal definition of “container” in the Oklahoma Code, just one for “Retail container for spirits and wines”, which isn’t the phrasing used in this passage.

Isn’t the definition of infused vodka, gin?