The lawsuit targets Jim Beam Brands

The lawsuit targets Jim Beam Brands

Beam Suntory has defended the use of the word “handcrafted” on its Jim Beam Bourbon bottles, reportedly saying the term cannot infer that no machinery was used in the production process.

The company told a California federal judge this week that its labels used a “common-sense” interpretation of the word, the Law360 website reported yesterday.

“(It) cannot be that Jim Beam employees break up the grain with their hands, stir the mixture by hand, distil and ferment the alcohol without the use of any machinery, make the glass bottles by hand, fill each bottle by hand, and handwrite each label on each bottle,” lawyers for Beam Suntory reportedly said.

The company also said the lawsuit, filed against Jim Beam Brands and Beam Suntory's US import arm, exaggerated the font size of the word and that the plaintiff had created a "blown-up version". The word is just 1/16 of an inch high on a 1.75-litre Jim Beam bottle and 1mm high on a 75cl bottle, the lawyers reportedly said.

A spokesperson for Beam Suntory told just-drinks today that the company was seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, adding: “These claims are frivolous. We will defend our case vigorously and we are confident we will prevail.”

Last year, the company also moved to dismiss another lawsuit filed against its Maker's Mark Bourbon that alleged “deceptive advertising” for promoting the whiskey as “handmade”.