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Maker’s Mark Gains Victory In Florida Labeling Suit

May 6, 2015

Beam Suntory won a victory in a Florida federal court yesterday when U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle dismissed a class action lawsuit challenging Maker’s Mark Bourbon’s label claims that it is “handmade.” One of a series of such class action suits targeting drinks industry brands over the past year, the complaint had been filed in March by plaintiffs seeking to represent a class of all Florida retail purchasers of Maker’s Mark.

Judge Hinkle determined that the plaintiffs’ own definition of what they considered “handmade” did not stand up to scrutiny. His decision reads, “The plaintiffs have not asserted that ‘handmade,’ in this context, means literally made by hand. They have offered other possible meanings, including made from scratch or in small units. But the defendants say they make their Bourbon from scratch and in small units. The plaintiffs have alleged no contrary facts. Indeed, the label says each batch of Maker’s Mark consists of no more than 19 barrels—a representation the plaintiffs have not challenged.”

Meanwhile, Maker’s stablemate Jim Beam still faces a similar suit in California, and Tito’s vodka is also in the crosshairs of a number of class actions taking aim at its “Handmade” branding.

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