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Fireball whiskey sued for selling 'whisky flavoured alcohol'

The World’s Smallest Whisky Bar Has Opened Inside a Classic Old Police …

A heated lawsuit has been filed in the US with tiny bottles of Fireball at its heart.

The cinnamon-flavoured whisky is known for packing a sweet and spicey punch, but not all fans know that it doesn’t always contain one key ingredient… whisky.

It turns out, miniatures of the beverage, commonly sold in convenience stores and gas stations, aren’t simply small versions of the bottles of booze found in liquor stores – they’re a different drink altogether.

The clue is in the name: “Fireball Cinnamon Whisky” – the well-known big sister – is not quite the same as “Fireball Cinnamon”, which can be bought in shops that aren’t licensed to sell liquor.

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The smaller drink, which first hit shelves in 2020 and tends to cost a palatable 99 cents is, in fact, a malt beverage flavoured like whisky.

Malt beverages are made by fermentation and are often categorised alongside beer, wine and hard seltzers. Distilled spirits, like whisky, are generally subject to tighter regulation.

To illustrate, Fireball whisky is 33 per cent alcohol, while its malt beverage younger sibling is 16.5 per cent.

The difference is a big deal to one disgruntled customer from Chicago, who feels so deceived that they’ve taken Fireball’s maker, Sazerac, to court.

“The label misleads consumers into believing it is or contains distilled spirits,” Anna Marquez, who claims she bought the minis assuming they contained whisky, said in her class-action lawsuit against the company.

Marquez argues that she paid more for the drink than she would have had she known it didn't contain whiskyAnna Marquez

Marquez’s lawsuit takes issue with how the Fireball Cinnamon label describes its ingredients: “Malt beverage with natural whisky [and] other flavors and carmel color.”

It claims this “clever turn of phrase” is designed to trick consumers into believing it contains whisky and not just a whisky flavouring.

Shoppers “will think the Product is a malt beverage with added (1) natural whisky and (2) other flavors,” the filing says.

It continues: “What the label means to say is that the Product contains ‘natural whisky flavors [and] 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.”

You can tell this means a lot to her, can’t you?

And it could mean a lot for her, too, because she’s seeking some $5 million (over £4 million) in “controversy” compensation, and this doesn’t even include interests and costs.

However, she wouldn’t pocket all the cash herself. Instead, it would be shared with anyone who bought the malt beverage in the following 12 states: Illinois, North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, South Carolina, and Utah.

One thing’s for sure, bosses at Sazerac must be feeling pretty hot under the collar over this whole debacle. We’re sure some of them could do with a drop of the hard stuff...

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