Here is an interesting entry from the sporadically updated yet highly intelligent Trading in Words blog detailing the counterfeit vodka economy. Because high-end vodka tastes so smooth and low-end vodka tastes so awful, counterfeiting the low-end booze is more common than counterfeiting the higher-cost product, because consumer expectations for the cheap stuff are so low.
Unlike the case with other counterfeit products, consumers don't see much of a price difference between real low-end vodka and fakes. Retailers and bootleggers, on the other hand, do see the difference and rake in the money. The lack of price differential between real low-end vodka and its fake counterpart is a real problem for discerning consumers, who often use out-of-line price signals to discern between real and fake products. And consumption of fake vodka is unsafe and unwise at any price. With retailers purchasing from shady sources to achieve their windfalls, Trading in Words suggests automatic prison sentences for any retailer caught with a counterfeit bottle. Tough words, but a compelling case. Read the whole thing.