- The Washington Times
Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Sazerac, maker of Fireball, is being sued in Illinois over alleged misleading labeling. The company sells small bottles containing a shot of the liqueur and small bottles sold in gas stations and supermarkets labeled as malt beverages with whiskey flavoring.

While the label for the shots says Cinnamon Whisky under the brand name, the other bottles say only Cinnamon. The composition for the gas station bottles also reads “malt beverage with natural whisky & other flavors and caramel color.”

“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. … When viewed together with the Fireball distilled spirit brand name, the label misleads consumers into believing it is or contains distilled spirits,” the class-action lawsuit, filed by plaintiff Anna Marquez, reads.

Ms. Marquez purchased the 99-cent bottles in 2021 and 2022 in Illinois, where the case was filed. Her class-action suit represents North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, South Carolina and Utah as well.

In the FAQs section of the Fireball website, the brand does lay out the differences between its whiskey product and the malt product, Fireball Cinnamon.

“Any package with Fireball ‘Cinnamon Whisky’ on the front label is our whisky-based product,” and “any product with Fireball ‘Cinnamon’ on the front label, without ‘Whisky’, is either our malt-based or wine-based product,” the site reads.

Other differences include the proof of the two libations; the whiskey is 66 proof or 33% alcohol by volume, while the malt beverage is 33 proof or 16.5% alcohol by volume.

The wine-based product is sold only in Oregon.

Fireball manufacturer Sazerac has not yet responded to a request for comment from The Washington Times.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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