A Blackpool seafront hotel made famous by a smash-hit TV show has been busted for selling fake vodka.
The Lyndene Hotel appeared as the fictional Le Ponderosa in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights sitcom a decade ago.
Promising “sunshine indoors”, Le Ponderosa was shown to be selling questionable non-brewery booze.
Now it appears real life has imitated art at the Promenade hotel.
Forty boxes of counterfeit vodka were seized from The Lyndene during a recent visit.
The bust followed spot checks which found the alcohol content of the booze varied wildly from bottle to bottle.
Blackpool Council trading standards chiefs are now considering whether to prosecute hotel bosses after samples sent for testing confirmed the goods were fake.
Mark Marshall, licensing and health and safety manager for Blackpool Council, told a licensing committee meeting: “We sent off a sample and it came back as counterfeit.
“About 40 boxes were taken out of the hotel.
Blackpool Council has since said it believes there may have been 80 boxes on the premises, which has 41 en-suite rooms, but by the time officers arrived only seven bottles of the counterfeit vodka remained and were seized.
Mr Marshall also hinted the problem could be more widespread, as part of a major illegal operation.
At the hearing, he added: “Counterfeit alcohol is being manufactured out of the county at an illegal bottling plant and being shipped all over the North West.”
The counterfeit alcohol seizure echoes the fictional misdemeanours at the hotel’s television alter-ego.
In a famous scene from the second series of Phoenix Nights, Le Ponderosa owner Frank “Hoss” Cartwright (played by Jim Bowen) told Kay’s character Brian Potter: “You don’t need a brewery. What have I got here? Bottles and cans, it’s all you need. It’s not what they drink – it’s where the drink it.
“When you make a big success of it on your own two feet the brewery will come crawling back to you.”
He then talks about appointing a “fall-guy” to be licensee in a bid to get around the rules.
When contacted yesterday by The Gazette, the assistant manager at The Lyndene Hotel said the manager was unavailable for comment.
Counterfeit alcohol has previously been found to cause serious health problems, including blindness, breathing difficulty and kidney and liver problems.
Methanol – which is commonly used in anti-freeze – is sometimes used to produce fake vodka, although it is not known whether it was found in the bottles taken from The Lyndene.
Chief medical advisor Professor for Drinkaware Paul Wallace said: “Commonly used substitutes for ethanol include chemicals used in cleaning fluids, nail polish remover and automobile screen wash, as well as methanol and isopropanol which are used in antifreeze and some fuels.”
Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for public protection, said: “We often find that counterfeit goods are of inferior quality.
“The biggest issue is the uncertainty that business buying products like counterfeit alcohol, and in turn their customers, face because of a lack of product testing.
“In this case we found the alcohol was below the ABV it claimed to be.
“Counterfeit alcohol could potentially pose a risk to health and therefore we would advise people to only buy products from reputable suppliers.
“If anyone has any concerns about counterfeit products, they can give us a call on (01253) 477477.”