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Tito’s Faces Another Lawsuit, While Templeton Fights Back

October 3, 2014

Tito’s Handmade Vodka owner Fifth Generation Inc., which is currently being sued in a California court over its claim that the brand is “Handmade,” is now facing a similar lawsuit in Florida. In recent days, plaintiffs Shalinus Pye and Raisha Licht—both consumers who claim to have previously purchased Tito’s—filed a class action suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in Tallahassee.

The Florida lawsuit alleges that “through unlawful, deceptive and unfair trade practices, and false advertising and marketing, defendants manufactured, marketed, and/or sold their ‘handmade’ vodka to consumers with the false representation that the Vodka was ‘handmade’ when, in actuality, the vodka is made via a highly-mechanized process, which is devoid of human hands.”

Similar claims were made in the California lawsuit. Fifth Generation owner Tito Beveridge said he would vigorously contest that suit. “All of our labels have gone through the approval process of the Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB),” says Beveridge. “After sending a field agent to Austin to review our processes, the TTB has approved our use of ‘Handmade’ on our label. We think our pot still batch distillation process is one of the key things that differentiates us from a great majority of other vodkas. We disagree with these claims and will defend ourselves against this misguided attack.”

In all likelihood, Beveridge and Fifth Generation will take a similar stance regarding the Florida lawsuit.

Meanwhile, Templeton Rye Spirits, which is being sued in an Illinois court over what the plaintiff, Templeton Rye Whiskey consumer Christopher McNair, claims are deceptive marketing practices, has released a statement saying McNair’s charges are untrue.

“The most damaging and patently false statement made in the lawsuit is that stock rye whiskey purchased from (contract producer) MGP is simply poured into bottles and labeled ‘Templeton Rye.’ That is simply not true,” read the statement. “The fact is Templeton purchases rye whiskey from MGP. Templeton has never hidden that fact from consumers. However, Templeton also purchases a flavoring formula from Clarendon Engineering in Louisville, Kentucky. That proprietary formula was created specifically for Templeton to match the flavor profile of the Prohibition-era recipe rye whiskey produced by the ancestors of one of the founders of Templeton. That formula is blended with the rye whiskey distilled by MGP in a small vessel in Templeton, then bottled and labeled in Templeton.

“It is the formula created for Templeton that gives Templeton Rye Whiskey its unique flavor and distinctive taste,” the statement added. “The product in a bottle of Templeton Rye is made in Templeton, Iowa. The company has never said it was distilled in Iowa.”

Templeton added that “it will vigorously defend itself against these false and misleading allegations and we are confident that we will prevail in the end.”


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