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Beam: handcrafted lawsuit ‘defies common sense’

Bourbon brand Jim Beam has hit out at accusations it falsely promotes itself as “handcrafted”, claiming critics’ understanding of the word “defies common sense”.

Jim-Beam
Jim Beam said a recent lawsuit launched against it “defies common sense”

A lawsuit was launched against the Beam Suntory-owned brand last month, accusing it of falsely leading consumers to believe that it is “handcrafted”, when it is made with “little to no human contact”.

The claims were made by California consumer Scott Welk, who is attempting to launch a class action lawsuit.

Welk argued that Jim Beam violates California’s False Advertising Law with its handmade claims, thus duping him into paying a premium price for the brand’s white label Bourbon.

As reported by Law 360, Jim Beam said in its motion to dismiss the case that its labels have been pre-approved by federal regulators and that consumers could not have been misled by the “miniscule size” of the word “handcrafted”.

The motion read: “A common-sense, reasonable interpretation of the word ‘handcrafted’ cannot be that Jim Beam employees break up the grain with their hands, stir the mixture by hand, distill and ferment the alcohol without the use of any machinery, make the glass bottles by hand, fill each bottle by hand, and handwrite each label on each bottle.”

The company also argued that its labels are protected under legislation in California as they have already been approved by the TTB.

In addition, Jim Beam said consumers could not have been misled, since videos and photographs of its production process are easily accessible online.

While a number of lawsuits have been launched against “handmade” US spirits brands in recent months, including Templeton Rye, Maker’s Mark, Angel’s Envy and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Jim Beam said the term is not a “specific and measurable claim”.

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