Woman sues fireball maker Sazerac for selling whiskey ‘flavored’ alcohol

It may not be the real deal – but it was worth it.

A woman is suing the Sazerac company – which makes alcoholic beverages including Fireball Whiskey – over what it claims is misleading packaging after discovering mini-bottles of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey don’t actually contain whiskey.

Anna Marquez filed a lawsuit in Illinois on January 7 after discovering that the drink was a malt drink flavored with whiskey and not whiskey, calling it “misleading labeling on Fireball Cinnamon.”

The mini, 3.4 oz. bottles of Fireball Cinnamon are being sold in stores that are not licensed to sell alcohol – such as supermarkets or gas stations – with the lawsuit alleging the two drinks’ labels are “almost identical”, despite a drink containing whiskey and one no.

The small bottles were sold at gas stations for 99 cents.
Anna Marquez

“[Consumers] will think the product is a malt beverage with (1) added natural whiskey and (2) other flavorings,” the suit reads. “What the label means is that the product contains ‘natural whiskey flavorings and other flavourings’, but by not including the word ‘flavourings’ after ‘natural whiskey’, buyers who look closely s will expect the distilled spirit of the whiskey to have been added as a separate ingredient.

The class action notes that whiskey is a distilled spirit, while a malt drink is based on fermentation with a neutral base to which flavorings and color – specifically “caramel” – are added.

The Post has contacted Sazerac for comment.

Fireball Cinnamon mini bottles do not contain real whiskey.
Fireball Cinnamon mini bottles do not contain real whiskey.
Anna Marquez

“While identical federal and state regulations permit the use of the product of the distillation
brand name spirits of Fireball, they prohibit the misleading general impression created as to
‘Fireball Cinnamon’ version,” the costume adds.

The suit also called out the fine print on the bottle describing the contents as a “clever turn of phrase”, noting that consumers assume the phrase “With natural whiskey and other flavors” will read as two separate items:” Natural whiskey” and “Other flavors”. which means that the drink contains “natural whiskey flavors”.

“They will think the product is a malt drink with (1) natural whiskey added and (2)
other flavors,” the suit says.

A bottle does not actually contain whisky.
A bottle does not actually contain whiskey.
Anna Marquez

The lawsuit noted that the bottles looked remarkably similar.
The lawsuit noted that the bottles looked remarkably similar.
Anna Marquez

Fireball whiskey contains 33% alcohol, while Fireball Cinnamon whiskey contains 16.5% alcohol.

The lawsuit claims to represent “more than 100” plaintiffs — in addition to Marquez — who allegedly purchased the products at “thousands of stores, including grocery stores, big box stores, gas stations and convenience stores.”

The lawsuit says the plaintiff is seeking $5 million in compensation for the “controversy.”

The class action represents anyone who purchased the drink in Illinois, North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, La South Carolina and Utah.

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