Lawsuit against Templeton Rye can proceedBy Melita Kiely
A lawsuit alleging Templeton Rye whiskey misled consumers into believing it is distilled in Iowa has been given approval to proceed.
It follows news that Templeton Rye is to change its labels to clarify that the spirit is distilled in Indiana, not Templeton, Iowa, after allegations that the brand may have breached federal disclosure requirements, “misleading” consumers.
Under a state law established in 2009, the development is a formality that requires the state attorney general’s office to evaluate the lawsuit first and decide if its claims have validity, The Des Moines Register reported.
The move is an acknowledgement that Templeton Rye could be found liable for violating Iowa law if allegations of consumer fraud and misleading advertising are found to be true, said Bill Brauch, director of the office’s Consumer Protection Division.
He also said that taken at face value, the claims against Templeton Rye appear “not even remotely close to frivolous”.
“In looking at the claims, they appeared to me to be ones that had validity, and in fact, strong validity,” Brauch added.
According to Ray Johnson, a West Des Moines consumer protection attorney, if the class action against the whiskey brand is successful a judgement settlement could give future Templeton Rye consumers a discount on purchases, possibly through the use of coupons.
A key part of the lawsuit will be proving consumers paid more for the whiskey thinking it was made in Iowa, Johnson added.
Last month, The Spirits Business also reported a group is urging consumers who feel they may have been mislead by American whiskey brands marketed as “small-batch” to seek legal advice and possibly pursue a class action lawsuit.
Furthermore, in September the founder of Tito’s Handmade Vodka hit out at a “misguided” lawsuit alleging the brand is deceiving customers into believing it is handcrafted.