Fireball Cinnamon faces lawsuit over small bottles that don’t contain whiskey – NBC Bay Area

A class action lawsuit has been filed in Cook County, Illinois against the makers of Fireball Cinnamon for what the plaintiff alleges is intentional misleading.

On January 7, plaintiff Ana Marquez I filed a lawsuit In United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, over what the Chicago resident calls the misleading labeling of Fireball Cinnamon.

Made by parent company Sazerac, Fireball Cinnamon is a line of products that includes malt and wine-based liqueurs made to “capture the essence” of the original Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey – but contain no real whiskey.

Miniature bottles of Fireball Cinnamon are sold in stores in the United States that can only sell beer, malt beverages, and wine products, like gas stations and grocery stores, for typically 99 cents—but it’s not the same product as the more well-known Sazerac. Drink brand: Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey, which actually contains whiskey.

Plaintiff’s attorneys provided photographs of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Fireball Cinnamon for comparison. They also provided photos of bottles of Fireball Cinnamon being sold in both ShopRite supermarkets at an undisclosed location and sold inside what appears to be a convenience store.

The suit alleges that the labels for these two distinct products: “Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey” and “Fireball Cinnamon” are nearly indistinguishable from each other, and that because of this, the malt or wine-based version of Fireball “misleads” consumers into believing that it is or contains distilled spirits. “.

US Court for the Northern District of ILLINOIS

Cinnamon Fireball Bottle, left; Fiery cinnamon whiskey, right.

Because of all this, Marquis says she bought bottles of Fireball Cinnamon assuming it contained whiskey, which it didn’t.

A representative for Sazerac, makers of both Fireball products, told that the company does not comment on ongoing litigation.

The lawsuit further alleges that in addition to the product titles being too similar to distinguish them, the finely-printed text on the Fireball Cinnamon bottles is similarly misleading, writing that the phrase “with natural whiskey and other flavors” is a “clever turn of phrase” because “straining consumers To read” the label they will assume that “natural whiskey” is a separate item from “other flavours”.

“They will believe the product is a malt beverage with (1) natural whiskey and (2) other flavoring added,” the suit says. What the label means is that the product contains “natural whiskey and other flavours,” but by not including the word “flavors” after the word “natural whisky,” buyers looking more closely would expect the distilled whiskey spirit to be added as a separate ingredient. “

The lawsuit also says that even if a distilled spirit such as whiskey is used to manufacture the flavors, it loses its classification as a spirit when mixed with other ingredients — which is why the product is allowed to be sold in places where Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey is not.

The lawsuit cites local news stories promoting the idea that the new product has caused confusion among consumers, including one 2021 article from Hudson Valley Country titled “Since when can you buy Fireball at gas stations in the Hudson Valley?? which poses this very question without a solution.

“Fireball at a gas station? I thought that was something you could only buy at the liquor store, right?” writes author CJ McIntyre. “I mean, it’s a cinnamon-flavored whiskey!!”

“When displayed in conjunction with the brand name of Fireball’s distilled spirit, the label misleads consumers into believing that it contains or contains distilled spirits,” the suit reads, adding that while federal and state regulations allow the use of the Fireball brand name on malt-based versions On wine, she bans the “misleading general impression created” by the “Fireball Cinnamon” version.

Expect those little bottles that say “Fireball Cinnamon” to contain whiskey.[was] The suit says “an easy mistake to make, an intentional mistake by the manufacturer.”

The lawsuit alleges Sazerac violated state consumer fraud laws, breached express warranty and profited from unjust enrichment and seeks representation for “more than 100” plaintiffs in addition to Marquis who purchased the item at “thousands of stores including grocery stores, supermarkets, gas stations, and convenience stores.”

On the FAQ page From the official Fireball website, several previously answered questions are devoted to the similarities and differences between Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Fireball Cinnamon, including why the company says they created the malted version in the first place.

“Over the years, we have received feedback from consumers wanting to purchase Fireball at a variety of convenience shopping locations, including stores that can only sell beer, malt beverages, and wine products,” according to an answer on the Fireball website, adding that the company offers Now Fireball is in approximately 170,000 stores in the United States that can only sell beer, malt beverages, and wine products, but not whiskey.

“Unlike Fireball Whiskey, Fireball Cinnamon Malt or wine-based products can be sold in beer, malt beverages, and wine shops to our enthusiasts who want a variety of convenient shopping locations,” it reads. “Fireball Whiskey is still available in bars, restaurants and liquor stores across the country.”

Although Plaintiff Marquis is a resident of Illinois, the lawsuit filed by Spencer Sheehan & Associates seeks to cover anyone in the state and also in North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, South Carolina, or Utah who Bought Fireball Cinnamon. The lawsuit states that the amount of damages to the plaintiffs if the lawsuit exceeds “$5 million, including any statutory and punitive damages.”

Sheehan is known for filing lawsuits against food and beverage companies with oversized wigs – more than 400 such lawsuits, As reported by NPR in 2021.

In May 2021, he filed a lawsuit against Frito-Lay alleging it was not used Enough real lime juice in Tostitos “Tip of Lime”.; Then in October of the same year, Sheehan filed a lawsuit against Kellogg’s, accusing the company of wrongdoing Falsely advertising the strawberry content in Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts.

Most recently, in November 2022, Sheehan’s company was represented by a woman who filed a file lawsuit against Velvetaclaiming that their shells and cheese take over 3 minutes to make.

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