Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

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Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
A bottle and a glass of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
Tastes Like Heaven, Burns Like Hell
TypeCinnamon flavored Canadian whisky
ManufacturerSazerac Company
Country of originCanada
Alcohol by volume33% by vol (66 proof)
IngredientsCanadian whisky

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is a mixture of Canadian whisky, cinnamon flavoring and sweeteners that is produced by the Sazerac Company. Its foundation is Canadian whisky, and the taste otherwise resembles the candy with a similar name, Ferrara Candy Company's "Atomic Fireball" candy.[1] It is bottled at 33% alcohol by volume (66 U.S. proof).[2]

According to the official Fireball website, the product was developed in Canada in the mid-1980s, and for a long time was little known outside of Canada.[3]

As of 2018, Fireball is among the top selling whisky-related brands in the United States.[4] In addition to the United States and Canada, Fireball is now also available in other countries.[5]


Fireball was originally part of a line of flavored schnapps developed by Seagram in the mid-1980s.[2][6] The manufacturer's story line is, in part, that it was the product of a Canadian bartender's efforts to warm up from an Arctic blast. The Sazerac Company purchased the brand rights and formula from Seagram in 1989.[2][6]

It was marketed as "Dr. McGillicuddy's Fireball Whisky".[2] Ostensibly, the named doctor was Dr. Aloysius Percival McGillicuddy, allegedly more commonly referred to as "the shot doctor"[2] who was born in the year 1808.[7][A] Later, in 2007, the product was rebranded as "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky".[8][6]

An April 2014 article in Bloomberg Business Week said "It's also one of the most successful liquor brands in decades. In 2011, Fireball accounted for a mere $1.9 million in sales in U.S. gas stations, convenience stores, and supermarkets, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. In 2013, sales leapt to $61 million, passing Jameson Irish whiskey and Patrón tequila."[2] In 2012 and 2013, the product had a surge in popularity, which the company achieved by using social media, cultivating bartenders, word of mouth, and a relatively small advertising budget. It is said[by whom?] that the sharp increase in sales early in its resurgence (late 2011/early 2012) can be attributed to a grass roots effort by Beer Can Alley, a Des Moines, Iowa Country bar. Several national country music acts would perform at the establishment during this time and inspired multiple references in many popular songs [1][9] In 2013, it became one of the top ten most popular liquors, displacing Jose Cuervo tequila.[10] In 2016, Bloomberg reported that with estimated sales of at least $150 million in 2015, the brand had overtaken Jägermeister in popularity to become the top-selling liqueur in the United States.[11]

The brand's label was designed by Ross Sutherland, who's also designed labels for Black Magic rum, Wheatley Vodka, and some other brands.[12]


Fireball is usually consumed as a "straight shot" or on the rocks.[1] The Sazerac website says "the cinnamon flavor is often used for shooters but can add character to a mixed drink."[9]

There are, however, various cocktails that use Fireball as an ingredient,[13] and the company has encouraged a variety of such cocktails through its official website and social media channels.[1] They include "Cinna-Rita", "Fire Nut Ball", "Hot Cherry Fizz", "Red Apple Spice", and "Ring-of-Fire".[14] Another is a blend of Irish coffee called "Fire Starter Coffee".[15] An "Angry Balls" mixer is a combination of Angry Orchard cider and Fireball.[16]

Other concoctions made with Fireball include:

The latter energy drink bomb shot may be compared to the Jägerbomb.

Awards and accolades[edit]

Health concerns[edit]

In 2014, Finland and Sweden reported that Fireball contained amounts of propylene glycol that surpassed the EU limitations of 1g/kg.[17][18] [19][20][21] Although not part of the EU, Norway also decided to recall the product.[19] The company responded by saying the product was "perfectly safe to drink" and called it a "small recipe-related compliance issue" related to the difference in regulations between the North American and European markets.[22] The recalled batches were replaced with a compliant product, and sales were allowed to resume for the EU-compliant formulation.

As of 2018, Fireball does not use propylene glycol in any of their products.[23][24]

Similar products[edit]

There are a variety of cinnamon-flavored liquor products available and they are a popular form of flavored liquor. They include cinnamon vodka, tequila, and bourbon.

Legal disputes[edit]

In early 2012, the Sazerac company sued Hood River Distillers over the allegedly confusing trade name and marketing of its product, SinFire Cinnamon Whisky.[25][26][27] The case was settled in 2013 and SinFire Cinnamon Whisky continues to exist.

In 2015, the Sazerac company filed a lawsuit complaining that the Jack Daniel's division of Brown-Forman had infringed its Fireball trademark while marketing Tennessee Fire, a cinnamon flavored Tennessee whiskey.[28] The lawsuit was dropped later that year.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ See his apocryphal will where he "present[s] the recipe for Dr. McGillicuddy’s Schnapps, whose intense taste made me a bit of a legend in these parts." "Dr. Aloysius McGilicuddy". October 20, 2008. Retrieved July 31, 2013.[unreliable source?]


  1. ^ a b c d Melendez, Elazar David (29 July 2013). "Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Is The Most Popular Liquor Brand You've Never Heard of". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Leonard, Devin (April 24, 2014). "Successful Marketing: Fireball Whisky: Selling a Brand, Shot by Shot". Bloomberg Business Week. Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Fireball Cinnamon Whisky Brand Portfolio Entry Archived 2013-07-30 at the Wayback Machine on official web site.
  4. ^ Price, Emily (September 2018). "These Are the 20 Best-Selling Whiskies in the United States". Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  5. ^ Distributors list on official web site.
  6. ^ a b c Hoium, Travis (October 6, 2015). "How Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey Became a Billion-Dollar Brand". Motley Fool. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  7. ^ "Fireball Whisky". Retrieved July 31, 2013.
  8. ^ "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky is heating up". Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  9. ^ a b Reidy, Chris (July 13, 2013). "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky sales may be hotter than last week's heat wave, firm says". Boston Globe. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  10. ^ "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky Cracks the Top Liquors". NeilsenTopTen. Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  11. ^ Coffey, Brendan (December 16, 2018). "Cheap-Liquor Billionaire Looks Abroad as Home Market Slows". Independent Beverage Group. Retrieved June 24, 2018 – via Bloomberg.
  12. ^ "fireball sizes". Retrieved 2020-11-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)[dead link]
  13. ^ a b Hoare, Peter (January 9, 2014). "5 Awesome Drinks You Can Make With Fireball Cinnamon Whisky". Food & drinks. MTV. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  14. ^ "Ring of Fire Shot". Fireball Drinks. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
  15. ^ "Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey". Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  16. ^ "Angry Balls". Angry Orchard Cider Company, LLC. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
  17. ^ Schneider, Steven (October 28, 2014). "Fireball whiskey recalled in Finland, Sweden due to high toxicity". Tech Times. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  18. ^ Schneider, Steven (2014). "Background Review for the excipent propylene glycol" (PDF). Europe Medicines Agency. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  19. ^ a b Kaufman, Alexander C. (October 29, 2014). "Fireball Whisky Recalled In 3 Countries Over Antifreeze Ingredient". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  20. ^ "Fireball liqueur sales blocked in Finland, Sweden". Helsinki, Finland: WTSP. October 28, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2014.
  21. ^ "Schnapp Judgment". October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  22. ^ "Fireball Dispels Internet Rumors" (PDF). The Sazerac Company. Retrieved October 28, 2014.
  23. ^ "Fireball Cinnamon Whisky | Tastes like Heaven, Burns like Hell What happens next is up to You". Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  24. ^ Stanz, Carissa (2018-11-01). "Fireball Whisky: 10 Facts You Didn't Know About the Cinnamon Liquor". Wide Open Eats. Retrieved 2018-12-04.
  25. ^ Barrouquere, Brett (14 February 2012). "Fireball Whiskey vs. SinFire Whiskey: Sazerac, Inc. Sues Hood River Distillers for Cinnamon Whiskey Names". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  26. ^ Farrell, Kenan (21 December 2012). "Oregon Trademark Litigation Update --Sazerac Company v. Hood River Distillers". Oregon Intellectual Property Law. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  27. ^ Simpson, Judge Charles R. III (19 December 2012). "Sazerac Company, Inc. v. Hood River Distillers, Inc. – Document 37 Court Description: Memorandum Opinion". Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  28. ^ Loosemore, Bailey (December 21, 2015). "Will Jack Daniel's get burned over 'Fireball' ads?". Louisville Courier-Journal. USA Today NETWORK. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  29. ^ Loosemore, Bailey (December 22, 2015). "Fireball whiskey maker drops suit against Jack Daniel's". Louisville Courier-Journal. USA Today NETWORK. Retrieved January 6, 2019.

External links[edit]