Mini “Fireball” Bottles Lead to Lawsuit


( – A Louisiana drinks manufacturer is facing a lawsuit after customers were left feeling cheated that bottles that didn’t say they were full of whiskey turned out not to be full of whiskey. The dispute alleges that the labels on the tiny bottles of the malt beverage were deceptive about what was actually inside. Now, the company could be facing a multi-million dollar legal bill.

The New Orleans-based Sazerac Company has been supplying alcohol to American drinkers since 1850. Today its flagship product is Fireball, a whiskey-based liquor with a potent, fiery kick provided by a hefty dose of cinnamon. It’s a popular party drink, and one of the most common ways of serving it is as an ice-cold shot. It’s also caught out by the US’ eccentric patchwork of alcohol laws. Across the country, there are about 170,000 stores that can sell beer, wine, and malt beverages but aren’t allowed to stock hard liquor.

To get around those laws and meet the taste for shots, Sazerac came up with a new product — Fireball Cinnamon Shots. These 3.4oz bottles carry the familiar Fireball name and logo, but while regular Fireball says “Cinnamon Whiskey” under the logo, the shots just say “Cinnamon.” That’s because they’re not whiskey; they’re a malt beverage flavored to taste like the original liquor.

Disappointed buyer Anna Marquez of Chicago, Illinois, is suing Sazerac, alleging that the company deceived her into believing the shots contained actual whiskey. Her attorneys claim the only difference between the labels is “the word ‘Whisky’ … which most purchasers seeking alcohol will not even detect.”

The idea that those seeking alcohol don’t read the label seems a stretch, but lawyers Sheehan & Associates say that, as well as Marquez, they have more than 100 other plaintiffs represented by the suit. Partner Spencer Sheehan says Sazerac deliberately deceived customers; he wants the company to change its labels and pay compensation to aggrieved buyers.

Sazerac, which has a FAQ page on its website that helpfully explains what Fireball Cinnamon is and how to tell it apart from regular Fireball, says it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

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