Buffalo Trace Distillery, Old Charter Distillery and Sazerac Company, makers of Old Charter Bourbon named in class action lawsuit over deceptive advertising

Old Charter Distillery

old-charter

 

Defendants represent that Old Charter is an 8-year aged bourbon. The complaint alleges this is false and misleading. Old Charter used to be aged for 8 years, but Defendants stopped that practice in approximately January 2014. The bourbon bearing the Old Charter name is now aged for significantly less than 8 years and is of inferior quality to its former self. But in an attempt to upsell the newer, younger, and inferior product, Defendants’ bottle labeling still misleads consumers to believe that the bourbon is aged 8 years.

The misrepresentation appears in three places on the bottle: on the neck, on its own label on the top of the body, and in the text portion which reads “gently matured for eight seasons in century old brick warehouses:”

As alleged, the label from before and after Defendants’ switch was unchanged with one minor exception.  Defendants omitted the words “aged” and “years” from the label, but continued touting the number 8.

This deceptive change fails to inform anyone that Defendants’ product is now composed of cheaper and lower-quality bourbon. The number 8 is still prominently shown in the same three places on the bottle, and the label still reads “gently matured for eight seasons ….”

Despite the fact that Defendants switched the Old Charter bourbon to a younger and lower quality spirit, the price remained the same. Consumers therefore got stuck paying the premium price of an 8-year bourbon for a much lower-value product.

Plaintiff is a purchaser of Old Charter who asserts claims on behalf of himself and similarly situated purchasers of Old Charter for violations of the consumer protection laws of New York, unjust enrichment, breach of express warranty, violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation.

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