A lawsuit filed in federal court in California against Maker's Mark Distillery was dismissed on Monday. The plaintiffs had alleged that they were mislead by the premium bourbon's claims on the label to be "handmade" but U.S. District Judge John A. Houston found that the claim "cannot reasonably be interpreted as meaning literally by hand nor that a reasonable consumer would understand the term to mean no equipment or automated process was used to manufacture the whisky."
However, Houston disagreed with Maker's Mark assertion that Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau review of labels would bar consumers from bringing claims of false advertising, saying the federal label review was informal. But the claims were still dismissed because the plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege the likelihood of deception, according to Law360, which originally reported the dismissal.
Plaintiffs Safora Nowrouzi and Travis Williams sought to establish a class-action case against Maker's Mark, which is owned by Beam Suntory, alleging they bought whiskey they believed to be superior based on the handmade claims, which they argued were deceptive.
A similar lawsuit filed in Florida against Maker's Mark was dismissed in May. Similar suits have been filed against other spirits makers including Jim Beam Bourbon, Angel's Envy Rye, Bulleit Bourbon, Tito's Handmade Vodka and Templeton Rye.