Two consumers have filed a putative class action in California federal court alleging that Maker’s Mark® bourbon whisky is not “handmade,” as the alcohol brand advertises, but is instead manufactured using “mechanized and/or automated processes” with “little to no human supervision, assistance or involvement.” Nowrouzi v. Maker’s Mark Distillery, Inc., No. 14-2885 (U.S. Dist. Ct.,S.D. Cal., filed December 5, 2014).
Citing photos and a video tour of the distillery as evidence, the plaintiffs argue that because Maker’s Mark® uses machines to make its product, its “handmade” claim and premium pricing amount to misrepresentation and violations of California’s false advertising statute. They allege that they “purchased Maker’s Mark whisky under the false impression that the whisky was of superior quality by virtue of being ‘Handmade’ and thus worth an exponentially higher price as compared to other similar whiskies.”They seek class certification, an injunction requiring discontinuation of the “handmade” description, a corrective advertising campaign, damages, costs, and attorney’s fees.