There are many expectations put upon bartenders—legal or otherwise. Not only must they manage a bar full of intoxicated patrons, but they also must follow local laws regarding alcohol and perform legally required actions like ID checks.
Bartenders are also legally banned from performing several actions. One of those actions is the practice of “marrying” liquor bottles, which means pouring the contents of one bottle into another. While this may seem harmless if the two bottles are of the same mark, SafeProof notes that allowing the marrying of liquor bottles can introduce problems.
“…By mixing the liquor from one bottle with another the chance of cross-contamination increases,” the website reads. “Even though the appropriate brand is poured into a correctly labeled bottle, they are from different distillation batches. If one batch should be recalled for a quality problem, such as excessive alcohol or [contaminants], the bottle code no longer reflects its content after marrying bottles.”
There are other reasons why marrying bottles is illegal as well, including issues related to alcohol taxes and concerns about pouring lower-price liquor into higher-price bottles.
This is why the practice is illegal in all 50 states. Still, that doesn’t stop bartenders from occasionally engaging in the practice, as TikTok user Stephen (@wocks_brew_crew) demonstrated in a now-viral video.
Marrying bottles isnt right guys. Even if tbe bar is owned by some big named country star. Get help.♬ original sound – jontaffer
In a clip with over 1.3 million views, Stephen films a bartender pouring a bottle into an identical-looking bottle. The sound overlaying the video is Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer describing the practice of marrying bottles, noting that it is illegal.
“Marrying bottles isn’t right guys. Even if [the] bar is owned by some big named country star,” Stephen writes in the caption. “Get help.”
While Stephen does not say the name of the bar in the video, the decor and location indicate that the bar is Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar in Nashville, Tennessee.
In the comments section, users shared their thoughts on this and similar bartending practices.
“Now she KNOWS better than that!!! How did she think it was ok to do that… in front of witnesses too!!! Girl wait till you by yourself at least!!” wrote one user.
“I literally quit a job in Maryland bc the lady told me that in Maryland it’s okay,” added another.
“Lol I was at a event and watched a bar tender use her fingers to get ice out of a drink,” shared a third. “I said I watch way to much bar rescue to know that’s wrong.”
However, some claimed the practice was common, despite its illegality.
“Look I know better than to do it in front of people but if both bottles came out the same case and have the same best by date then I’m marriyin,” detailed a user.
“Just about every bartender has done it. before or after closing,” alleged a second. “don’t be so naive.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Stephen via Instagram direct message and Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar via email.
Update 8:53am CT March 9: In an Instagram DM exchange with the Daily Dot, Stephen says he didn’t say anything to the staff at the time.
“We were getting ready to go at the time I saw it, and the Uber was almost there, so by the time a manager would’ve gotten there it would’ve taken too long,” he detailed. “I haven’t [been] there since we were there on vacation and that was one of our last nights of the trip, so there wasn’t enough time for us to make it back there.”
He also shared his thoughts on the issue in general.
“I do like that there are laws for this solely for the fact that bars could poor cheaper liquor into more expensive bottles and charge more for it,” he wrote. “Obviously that’s not what they were doing in this video, but still, there are other things that could go wrong even if it is the same type and brand of liquor. I do not support the idea of ‘marrying’ bottles, but at the end of the day, I was so surprised they did it while still during open hours as the place was pretty packed.”