Will Hudson Valley Gas Stations Have to Stop Selling Fireball? New Lawsuit Could Make it Happen
If you've ever bought Fireball at your local gas station, a new lawsuit wants you to know that it's not what you think.
Back in May of 2021, many Hudson Valley convenience store customers started to notice that there was something for sale at most stores that was never on sale before. I shared that the store I go into in Poughkeepsie on a regular basis had put up a display selling, what I thought at the time, was one of my favorite whiskeys.
Fireball For Sale in Convenience Stores
When I noticed the display (pictured above) I wondered if it was even legal for a convenience store to sell Fireball whiskey. I thought the only alcohol you could buy at a convenience store was beer, seltzers, and things like that. If you wanted the hard stuff, vodka, bourbon, or whiskey you had to go to a liquor store to buy them. So when I saw Fireball on sale I thought the store I was at might be doing something wrong by selling it.
Gas Station Fireball Isn't Whiskey
They weren't breaking the law because, after a ton of messages, I came to find out that the Fireball at gas stations is different than the Fireball at liquor stores. The Fireball at gas stations is considered a malt beverage and has a lower alcohol content than the bottles bought at a liquor store. Gas station bottles that say "Fireball Cinnamon" with whiskey flavoring are only 33 proof compared to the bottles at liquor stores that say "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky" and are 66 proof.
The confusion over the different versions of Fireball has led to a new lawsuit that claims the different labels don't make it clear that the bottles purchased at a gas station aren't the real fireball whiskey. The lawsuit claims that because the label says it's a "Malt Beverage with Natural Whisky & Other Flavors" it is not clear that they actually mean whisky flavors, not real whiskey. The misleading labels have led to a lawsuit claiming that Sazerac Company, Inc., the one who makes the gas station version is intentionally misleading consumers.
Most consumers who purchase the bottles at gas stations assume that because the labels are so similar they are purchasing the real Fireball Whiskey but they aren't. The lawsuit, which was filed on January 7, claims that consumers expected those small bottles labeled "Fireball Cinnamon" to contain whiskey and because they don't the company should be held liable for misleading consumers.
The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court Northern District of Illinois and if the plaintiff wins, anyone who bought the mini bottles in the 12 states they were sold could be entitled to money.