There are still "hotspots" across the country where licensees are refilling branded spirits bottles with cheaper alternatives.
Figures compiled by local Trading Standards authorities show that while spirits substitution, or "tipping", is generally on the decrease there are areas where it is still rife.
A recent swoop covering Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Oxfordshire found nine per cent of outlets were substituting spirit brands with cheaper alternatives - a figure almost three times the national average.
The checks were conducted by local authority officers and the International Federation of Spirits Producers UK (IFSP), in response to a higher number of complaints about pubs in these areas.
Penalties for selling substituted or counterfeit spirits include heavy fines and a potential loss of licence.
Under the new Licensing Act, which will become law in 2005, there will be the additional penalty of the suspension or loss of the personal licence.