The maker of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and Fireball Cinnamon is being sued over what an Illinois woman alleges is deliberately misleading packaging on the mini-bottles often seen near store checkouts. Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is 33% alcohol by volume and contains actual whiskey, while Fireball Cinnamon is a whiskey-flavored malt beverage that's 16.5% alcohol by volume, CBS reports. The latter drink doesn't have whiskey in it, but in a federal lawsuit, Anna Marquez argues that "expecting those small bottles labeled 'Fireball Cinnamon' to contain whiskey was an easy mistake to make, and one intended by the manufacturer."
The suit filed in the US District Court for the Northern District Of Illinois states that "the bottles appear identical but for the word 'Whisky' on the front label, which most purchasers seeking alcohol will not even detect." Fine print on the Fireball Cinnamon bottles states that it's a "Malt Beverage With Natural Whisky & Other Flavors and Caramel Color," which the lawsuit claims is a "clever turn of phrase" to trick consumers into "believing it is or contains distilled spirits." The lawsuit is seeking class-action status to represent buyers in Illinois and around a dozen other states.
The Sazerac Company, which bought the brand and formula from Canadian company Seagram in the late 1980s and changed the whiskey mix's name from "Dr. McGillicuddy's Fireball Whisky" in 2007, says Fireball Cinnamon was developed after feedback from consumers, NBC Chicago reports. The company's website says Sazerac developed the beverage after hearing from consumers who wanted to buy Fireball in a "wider variety of convenient shopping locations, including stores that can only sell beer, malt beverages, and wine products." (Read more whisky stories.)