Fireball Cinnamon fans be warned – the mini bottles of the fiery drink you buy at the convenience store don’t contain whiskey.
In fact, the drink is a whiskey-flavored malt drink, much to the dismay of Anna Marquez – the Illinois woman suing Sazerac Company, the maker of Fireball, for “misleading” packaging.
The class action lawsuit, which was filed by Marquez earlier this month, alleges that the labeling on the small 99-cent bottles of Fireball Cinnamon deceptively resembles the labeling on the bottles of its other product, Fireball Cinnamon. Whiskey.
Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey has 33% alcohol by volume, while Fireball Cinnamon has 16.5% alcohol by volume, according to the company’s website.
Customers “expecting these small bottles labeled ‘Fireball Cinnamon’ to contain whiskey ‘was an easy mistake to make, and intended by the manufacturer,'” the lawsuit states. “In fact, what consumers were buying in non-liquor stores”[was] not whiskey at all” even if the[ir] the labels are almost identical.”
The lawsuit alleges that while it is legal for the company to use the “Fireball” brand name for beverages, federal and state law prohibits creating a “misleading impression.”
In addition to similar labels, the lawsuit complains about the size of the text on Fireball Cinnamon’s label describing its composition. The claim alleges that the wording “Malt drink with natural whiskey and other flavors and color Carmel” is written in the “smallest size allowed”.
Use of the phrase “natural whiskey” creates misunderstandings about the product, the lawsuit also says.
“Using the words ‘With natural whiskey and other flavourings’ is a clever turn of phrase, as consumers straining to read this will see how distinct ‘natural whiskey’ is from ‘other flavourings'”, indicates the trial.
Customers “will think the product is a malt drink with (1) natural whiskey and (2) other flavors added,” he added.
In other words, buyers may believe that natural whiskey is added to the drink as a separate ingredient, rather than understanding that only “whiskey flavorings” are added.
On Fireball’s website, the company explains the difference between its whiskey and malt products.
“There are 2 key differences between the Fireball Cinnamon labels and the Fireball Whiskey label: Any packaging with Fireball ‘Cinnamon Whiskey’ on the front label is our whiskey product,” the site explains. “Any product with Fireball ‘Cinnamon’ on the front label, without ‘Whisky’, is either our malt product or our wine product.”
The lawsuit, although filed only by Marquez, is intended to cover anyone in Illinois, North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Mississippi, Iowa, Carolina South, Kansas, Arkansas and Utah which bought Fireball Cinnamon.