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There's no whiskey in bottles of Fireball Cinnamon, so customers are suing for fraud

Smaller bottles of Fireball do not contain whiskey, but a blend of malt beverage, wine and additional flavors and colors. Customers are suing the company for fraud, alleging the packaging is misleading.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Smaller bottles of Fireball do not contain whiskey, but a blend of malt beverage, wine and additional flavors and colors. Customers are suing the company for fraud, alleging the packaging is misleading.

Consumers are suing Sazerac Company, Inc., the makers of Fireball whiskey, for fraud and misrepresentation, as the mini bottles of the alcoholic beverage don't actually contain whiskey.

The smaller bottles, named Fireball Cinnamon, are made from a blend of malt beverage and wine, while the whiskey-based products are called Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, according to the company website.

The 99-cent bottles are sold in 170,000 stores, including gas stations and grocery stores, prompting some customers to wonder what products they presumed to contain liquor were doing there, the complaint says.

Upon closer inspection, customers realized the description of the product was "malt beverage with natural whisky & other flavors and carmel color," insinuating whiskey is an ingredient used in the drink, when it actually uses whiskey flavor, according to the class action lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (cq).

"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 complaint says.

The lawsuit further states that given the lack of whiskey, 99 cents for a 1.7 fluid ounce bottle is overpriced.

The Sazerac Company was not immediately available for comment.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: February 1, 2023 at 10:00 PM MST
The headline has been updated to make clear which product is the target of a lawsuit.
Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]