Andrzej Szarzynski, who gave addresses in Liverpool and Coventry, filled empty bottles with apple juice or tea.
He then went into a shop to ask for a real bottle of the spirit before handing over a €10 note.
When the cashier refused to accept the currency he would give them back his doctored bottle and keep the genuine one for himself.
He was tracked down by private investigators after brand owner Bacardi Brown-Forman unearthed 416 bottles of fake JD in the trade.
He was finally caught at an off-licence in Cleveleys, Lancs, on May 9, and was tried at Preston Crown Court.
Judge Mr Justice Henriques said: “While versions of this type of fraud have been perpetrated for time immemorial, the sheer scope of this particular confidence scam is unique.”