Sazerac Faces Lawsuit Over Allegedly Deceptive Labeling Of Fireball Mini Bottles

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Paul Aubert Contributor
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An Illinois woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Sazerac, the parent company of Fireball whisky products, accusing the brand of misleading customers in its packaging and advertising.

Anna Marquez filed the lawsuit Jan. 7 over the branding of Fireball Cinnamon mini bottles. The miniature bottles are labeled with the words “Fireball Cinnamon,” but the larger bottles are branded as Fireball Cinnamon Whisky.

The miniature Fireball Cinnamon bottles, sold at stores that are unable to sell liquor products, contain wine- or malt-based alcoholic beverages, according to NBC Bay Area. The Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is the only beverage out of the two that truly contains whisky, the outlet reported.

Fireball Cinnamon has 16.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky has 33% ABV, according to CBS News.

Despite differences between the two products, Marquez contests Fireball’s branding is deceptive and misleading to customers, the outlet reported.

The two products hold nearly identical titles which may lead those who purchase the smaller bottle “into believing it is or contains distilled spirits,” according to the lawsuit.

The fine print on the products is also very similar and may be misleading, Marquez alleges in the suit. The malt beverage product in the smaller bottle is described as being made “With Natural Whisky & Other Flavors,” according to NBC. Marquez claims the description could be misinterpreted to mean it truly contains liquor, when in reality, the bottle contains the flavor of natural whisky, according to the lawsuit. (RELATED: Judge Rules Moviegoers Can Sue Film Studios Over Misleading Trailers After Ana De Armas Cut From Film)

“They will think the Product is a malt beverage with added (1) natural whisky and (2) other flavors,” the lawsuit reads. “What the label means to say is that the Product contains ‘Natural Whisky Flavors & Other Flavors,’ but 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.”

The brand’s Frequently Asked Questions page describes the difference between the two products for buyers.

“There are 2 key differences between the Fireball Cinnamon labels vs the Fireball Whisky label: Any package with Fireball ‘Cinnamon Whisky’ on the front label is our whisky-based product. Any product with Fireball ‘Cinnamon’ on the front label, without ‘Whisky’, is either our malt-based or wine-based product,” according to the site.