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What does “handmade” or “handcrafted” on a liquor bottle mean?
Absolutely nothing. That’s right. If you see the words handmade, handcrafted, even craft on a bottle, disregard them. These words are just marketing and subject to no regulation whatsoever.
Tito’s, which is probably the most famous spirit to self-identify as “handmade,” was even sued over use of the term.
In 2015, Trevor Singleton sued Fifth Generation, the manufacturer of Tito’s, claiming the vodka was not handcrafted — in fact, he alleged the manufacturing process was “highly automated.” Fifth Generation pushed for the suit to be thrown out, but U.S. District Judge Brenda K. Sannes refused, claiming Tito’s could lead consumers to believe the product is created in small batches by their use of the term handmade. The parties ultimately settled for an undisclosed sum.
So the next time you see the terms handmade or handcrafted on a label, don’t assume that means a maker is tirelessly working away in a sunlit barn to craft the best liquid they can. Instead, just take it for what it is: effective marketing.