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Sometimes you’ll see alcohol on sale from companies or places that aren’t licensed or regulated. Most are made for home consumption, following longstanding traditions or home recipes. However, others are made and distributed illegally to avoid the licencing fees and taxes set by the government.  This category is called unrecorded alcohol.
The alcohol content, quality, taste and safety of homemade or traditionally produced drinks, although informally regulated by custom and practice, may be different with each batch. They’re not normally labelled with the alcohol content or package size, making it harder to keep track of how much you’ve had to drink.

Whether created with the best of intentions or not, alcohol that hasn’t been licensed can be dangerous. These drinks can contain differing amounts of alcohol and can even be made from alcohol other than ethanol which is not safe to drink. They may also contain toxins that can sicken or even kill the drinker.  

It’s important to note that there also are unscrupulous producers who package their alcohol to look just like legitimate brands you’ve heard of. Sometimes these products contain more alcohol than you're expecting, or dangerous ingredients. When buying alcohol, be suspicious of unreasonably low prices and check the packaging to see that it’s authentic. If it tastes different from what you're used to, this can be a good indication that it’s fake, and the safest thing to do is to stop drinking it.

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What you can do next

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Choosing not to drink

If you’re insure of the quality of the product you're buying, not drinking that product can be an obvious decision to make. But there are many other reasons for choosing not to drink, including cultural, religious, or in response to medical advice. Discover more about this here.

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