Judge Dismisses Jim Beam False Advertising Lawsuit Over “Handcrafted” Label

A lawsuit that claimed Jim Beam’s “handcrafted” description was all a lie has been dismissed by a federal judge in California, noting that the use of stills is common in the industry, and that customers understand the whiskey is made using some machines.

Beam Suntory, the maker of Jim Beam and other Kentucky bourbon brands, walked off with a win in San Diego on Friday, reports the Associated Press.

The plaintiff had claimed he was tricked into buying a bottle of Jim Beam’s white label bourbon at a fancy price because of the handcrafted claim on the label. But his lawsuit claimed Jim Beam is made using an automated process that doesn’t include a lot of human involvement.

“Such conduct by defendants is ‘unfair’ because it offends established public policy and/or is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous and/or substantially injurious to consumers in that consumers are led to believe that Jim Beam bourbon is of superior quality and workmanship by virtue of it being ‘handcrafted,’ when in fact it is not,” the suit said.

But U.S. District Judge Larry Alan Burns ruled that stills and other equipment have always been a part of the bourbon-making process.

“A reasonable consumer wouldn’t interpret the word ‘handcrafted’ on a bourbon bottle to mean that the product is literally ‘created by a hand process rather than by a machine,'” the judge wrote.

This is the third recent win for Beam Suntory: two lawsuits against Maker’s Mark bourbon were also dismissed this year, that had taken issue with the bottle labeling promoting the whiskey as homemade.

“We are pleased with this swift and decisive victory, which ends the last remaining lawsuit against the labeling of our bourbon brands,” a company spokesman said of the judge’s decision in this case.

The plaintiff had been seeking class-action status. His attorney says it’s unclear at this point whether he’ll appeal.

“Obviously we’re disappointed with the results,” he said Monday.

Judge Dismisses Suit Claiming Jim Beam Bourbon Was Falsely Advertised [Associated Press]

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