Labatt breweries says Stella Artois beer bottles found to have high levels of concentrated alcohol were not deliberately tainted, but were meant for display purposes only.

In a statement released Wednesday, Labatt says the bottles were filled with high levels of alcohol intended as a replacement liquid -- and that the bottles were intended for enclosed plexi-glass display casings.

In a number of isolated incidents, bottles were removed from their display cases placed in bar fridges among regular products and subsequently served to customers. The company says the bottles were not intended for circulation.

Labatt vice president Neil Sweeney says after speaking with thousands of bar owners across the country and conducting three blitzes to retrieve the bottles, the mystery was solved.

"We want to extend our gratitude to the thousands of bar owners across the country who worked so quickly with us to inspect every bottle of Stella Artois in bars and restaurants," Sweeney said in a statement.

Labatt and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency first learned of the tainted bottles in late June when a person in Ontario was served a bottle.

The CFIA advised customers on July 12 that six 330 ml Stella Artois beer bottles bearing the best before end of 11.2005 or 12.2005 could have been tampered with.

Several people in Toronto and Kamloops, B.C., were served the display bottles but did not become ill.