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Whiskey Brand Facing Lawsuit For Selling Bottled Shots That Don't Actually Contain Whiskey

The makers of Fireball are being sued after versions of their shots sold at convenience stores don't contain any whiskey.

Fireball Cinnamon
Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images; Sazerac Company, Inc

Sazerac has found itself in hot water.

The beverage company and maker of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is being sued after a consumer noticed the sweet and spicy shot sold at supermarkets and convenience stores doesn't contain any whiskey.

As it happens, the company makes different versions of the alcoholic beverage for different markets.

The bottles found at the cash registers at gas stations, for example, are actually a malt beverage with whiskey flavor versus the original—which is sold in places licensed to sell liquor—that contains Canadian whisky, cinnamon flavoring and sweeteners.

Malt beverages are made from fermentation and typically fall in the same category as beer, wine, and spiked seltzers... which also means lower alcohol content. The whisky-containing Fireball yields 33 percent alcohol while the malted version only boasts 16.5.

A consumer in Chicago is taking Sazerac to court over misleading marketing.

The class-action lawsuit filed by Anna Marquez claims:

"The label misleads consumers into believing it is or contains distilled spirits."

Marquez purchased the spicy malt beverage mini thinking it was whiskey.

Not only does Marquez take issue with being overcharged for a product that does not contain whiskey, but she also believes the company knowingly used a "clever turn of phrase" to trick consumers into thinking the product does actually contain the distilled spirit.

The boozier product sports a label with the words "Fireball" at the top and the words "Cinnamon Whisky" below the fire-breathing mascot. The description on the bottom of the label reads, "Whisky with natural cinnamon flavor."

Fireball Whisky bottleMarquez v. Sazerac Company/United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

It is shockingly similar to the bottle purchased by Marquez, with only minor differences to the label.

The focal point of the label is the same with one exception—there is no "whisky" following the word "cinnamon."

The description of Marquez's bottle states:

"Malt beverage with natural whisky & other flavors and caramel color."

The lawsuit claims the label misguides consumers, making it appear natural whisky is included in the beverage when in fact it's just a flavor.

Marquez v. Sazerac Company/United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

The filing explains consumers "will think the Product is a malt beverage with added (1) natural whisky and (2) other flavors."

"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."

Many on Twitter chimed in they, too, were in the dark about the two different products.

Most, however, didn't think the label was as misleading as the lawsuit claims.

The bottle in question states it's a malt beverage and does not have the word "whisky" next to "cinnamon."

That's enough for them.

A few were just glad they weren't misled themselves.

Marquez is seeking $5 million in compensation, not including interest and costs.

The compensation would be distributed to anyone who purchased the product in question in Illinois, North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona, South Carolina and Utah during the statutes of limitations.

Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, we bet Sazerac will rethink their packaging.