A consumer has filed a lawsuit against Fifth Generation, Inc. alleging that its Tito’s Handmade Vodka® is not “handmade” as claimed on the label because it is produced through a mechanized process. Wilson v. Fifth Generation, Inc., No. 15-561 (M.D. Ala., E. Div., filed August 5, 2015). The complaint joins a number of other lawsuits alleging similar facts and claims against Tito’s Handmade Vodka®.
Fifth Generation has filed a motion to dismiss a similar lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court, arguing that the claims have “no basis in law or common sense” and no reasonable person could believe that a product sold nationally “was made exclusively in human hands in some backwoods, ad hoc operation, without any mechanical equipment.” Emanuello v. Fifth Generation, Inc., No. 15-11513 (D. Mass., motion filed August 5, 2015). In May and July 2015, courts dismissed lawsuits targeting “handmade” claims made on Maker’s Mark® labels, finding that the “handmade” claim “obviously cannot be used literally to describe bourbon” because some degree of machinery is necessary for production. Additional information about those decisions appears in Issues 564 and 573 of this Update.