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Maker’s Mark prevails in ‘handmade’ lawsuit

Maker’s Mark Bourbon has set a precedent by becoming the first spirit brand in a recent spate of lawsuits to successfully defend its status as “handmade”.

A lawsuit claiming Maker’s Mark has misled consumers by claiming it is “handmade” has been dismissed

The US District Court for the Northern District of Florida yesterday (4 May) ruled in favour of the bourbon brand’s parent company Beam Suntory in a class action lawsuit, launched last year.

Florida judge Robert L. Hinkle dismissed the case by plaintiffs Dimitric Salters and A.G. Waseemn “with prejudice”, thus ending the case.

The lawsuit alleged that the brand had misled consumers by falsely marketing itself as “handmade”.

“We have asserted all along that the complaints in this case were frivolous and without merit, and we are very pleased the court agreed with our position so emphatically,” said Rob Samuels, chief operating officer of Maker’s Mark.

A similar lawsuit launched against Maker’s Mark in California last December is still on going.

A number of other spirits brands have faced consumer class actions questioning their “craft” statuses in recent months.

Earlier this year, a California judge temporarily stonewalled a lawsuit launched against Tito’s Handmade Vodka due to a “technical flaw”.

Meanwhile, Jim Beam hit out at a class action claiming it is falsely advertised as “handcrafted”, stating critics’ understanding of the word “defies common sense” .

Of the recent action over Maker’s Mark, Kent Rose, senior vice president and general counsel of Beam Suntory, said: “This ruling is very good news, and it should send a strong message to those who would seek to gain from similar baseless and irresponsible litigation.”

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