Fireball whisky producer duped consumers according to new lawsuit

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story claimed that the mini bottles of Fireball did not contain any “alcohol.” This is incorrect, as the legal filing only claims that they may not contain whisky. This article has been corrected to reflect that fact.

The Sazerac Company, the company that produces the popular Fireball whisky, is coming under fire as a new lawsuit accuses them of intentionally duping consumers.

Customers may have been fooled into buying 3.4-oz bottles of Fireball Cinnamon-flavored malt beverage without realizing the drink doesn’t contain any whisky, the legal filing claims. It further accuses the company of crafting the bottles to be nearly identical to their standard whisky bottles, then selling the libations at convenience stores, grocery stores and other retail locations.

Spencer Sheehan, a lawyer with Sheehan & Associates, P.C., claims that the practice was deceptive, saying that consumers likely would have only recognized the label but may not have thought to read it.

“People associate the Fireball Cinnamon with whisky… by selling [a] Fireball Cinnamon product that is a malt-based beverage with a drop of whiskey flavor, that’s deceptive,” he said in a statement to FOX Business.

A close inspection of the mini bottles indicates that they actually don’t use the word “whisky” on the label, and reportedly include the phrase ‘With Natural Whisky & Other Flavors.’ This may have resulted in people believing the bottle contained liquor.

“Expecting those small bottles labeled “Fireball Cinnamon” to contain whisky ‘[was] an easy mistake to make, and one intended by the manufacture[r],’” the lawsuit reads.

“[What] the label means to say is that the Product contains ‘Natural Whisky Flavors & Other Flavors’,” the filing continues. “By not including the word ‘Flavors’ after ‘Natural Whisky,’ purchasers who look closely will expect the distilled spirit of whisky was added as a separate ingredient.”

Sheehan claims that the company may have capitalized on the ignorance of some buyers, many of whom may not have known certain stores are not allowed to sell liquor.

“They’re not going to ask the clerk at the store… is there a change in your alcohol beverage control laws to authorize this,'” he reasoned.

The lawsuit contends that the “label misleads consumers into believing it is or contains distilled spirits,” and thereby makes the customer believe they are getting “a premium price, $0.99 for 50 mL.”

Ultimately, Sheehan wants to make things right on behalf of those who mistakenly spent their money on the shots.

“We believe that consumers were misled and there has got to be a way to make that fair… because people paid money for it.”


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