Fireball Is Facing A Major Lawsuit Over Its Mini Bottles

When making purchases, commonly given advice is to read the small print. And for people who purchased and drank mini bottles of Fireball Cinnamon, they likely will be wishing they had taken that advice to heart. Enter Anna Marquez, a woman from Illinois who brought a class action lawsuit against Fireball's parent company, Sazerac, on January 7, 2023, due to misleading marketing and labeling on Fireball Cinnamon mini bottles.

Since it was first made in the 1980s, Fireball has only grown in popularity with its unique cinnamon sweet-spicy taste. Available only in Canada, the drink was initially known as Dr. McGillicuddy's Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, according to Whiskey Rocks. The name was eventually changed to Fireball Cinnamon Whisky after being sold to The Sazerac Company. 

Following the name change and a big promotional push, sales of Fireball began to really take off, per Bravo. Sales in the United States in 2021 totaled almost 6.8 million 9-liter cases, reports Statista, up from about 1.87 million in 2013. It is often drunk as shots or mixed with other beverages to create cocktails

The year prior, in 2020, is when Sazerac released small bottles of Fireball Cinnamon with the wording "Malt Beverage With Natural Whisky & Other Flavors and Caramel Color" on its label — potentially not realizing that this may lead some to confusion. 

Misleading labels and small print may confuse consumers

According to the lawsuit, Anna Marquez argues that the label's wording in small print makes it hard to discern if the mini bottles contain any spirits — this could lead many to mistake the malt drink with added whisky flavoring for the real thing. The lawsuit also contends that the red-and-yellow design is all too similar to that of the Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, making it even more vague and challenging for consumers to know what they're actually getting. 

The Washington Post states that Fireball Cinnamon differs significantly from Fireball Cinnamon Whisky since the former is typically sold in businesses such as grocery stores and gas stations that cannot sell liquor products. Fireball Cinnamon is, indeed, solely a malt beverage that has a similar taste to whisky and is sold in mini bottles for around $0.99. On the other hand, the original Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is 66 proof and made with whisky (via the company's website).  

The lawsuit alleges that Sazerac violated state consumer fraud statutes in 12 states, and damages estimated to be over $5 million are being sought. However, Sazerac has declined to make any further statement on the case.