Operators are being urged not to buy alcohol from people calling at their premises offering suspiciously cheap goods.
Tests on counterfeit bottles seized by trading standards have found high levels of methanol and other harmful solvents, according the BBC. It said a man died this year after drinking a bottle of vodka which contained 40% methanol.
The Local Government Association said that if an offer seemed too good to be true, it probably was. It advised operators and members of the public to look out for telltale signs like unfamiliar brand names, drinks containing sediment, wonky labels, poor quality print and spelling mistakes.
Councellor Paul Bettison, the LGA's regulation spokesman, told the BBC: "We've now seen instances where people have been killed by drinking fake vodka. Everyone wants a bargain at this time of year, but by consuming fake alcohol people may be taking their life into their hands. These drinks are often made by organised gangs and may contain all sorts of toxic and dangerous substances."
Meanwhile, Essex county council is warning that bottles of counterfeit Smirnoff vodka are in circulation in the county. Businesses are urged not to buy from "man in a van" who may call offering cheap booze and stick to trusted suppliers.
By James Stagg
E-mail your comments to James Stagg here.
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs