Canada Dry Settles Yet Another 'Not Enough Ginger in Ginger Ale' Lawsuit
Almost two years ago, a Canadian man hired a high-powered Vancouver attorney to take on a company that he said had misled him, made false claims about the health benefits of its signature product and, as a result, breached the unwritten contracts they had with their consumers. And that's when Victor Cardoso filed his class-action lawsuit against Canada Dry-brand ginger ale.
Cardoso said that he, his wife, and their daughters had all been routinely downing Canada Dry because they believed that the ginger in the carbonated soft drink gave it "health benefits." In addition, Canada Dry Mott's—the Canadian division of Canada Dry manufacturer Keurig Dr. Pepper—printed the words "Made From Real Ginger" on its packaging. That might've been technically true, but Cardoso's lawyer argued that the company's claim wasn't entirely accurate.
"They do buy actual ginger, but then what they do is they boil it in ethanol, and that essentially destroys any nutritional or medicinal benefits," Mark Canofari said, adding that Canada Dry uses a ginger concentrate. "One drop fills 70 cans [...] and a drop is .05 ml. So that's how little, even of the concentrate, is actually in one drink."
Now after twenty-plus months of legal wrangling, that lawsuit has been settled in a British Columbia court. According to CTV News, Canada Dry Mott's agreed to pay $200,000 but it "expressly denies liability and is not required to change its product labelling or advertising for products marketed in Canada." (When similar lawsuits were filed in the United States, the company agreed that it would no longer use the phrase "Made From Real Ginger" to market and sell its products).
Hopefully, no one was rubbing their hands together, waiting for a massive payout from Big Ginger Ale—or for any payout. Canofari and Broughton Law Corporation decided that there were too many potentially affected ginger ale-drinkers and it didn't make sense to try to locate all of them, especially if they'd just get a handful of change as compensation. Instead, the attorneys will take their $100,000 cut, Cardoso and another plaintiff will receive $1,500 each, and whatever's left will be given to the nonprofit Law Foundation of British Columbia.
In August 2018, a Buffalo, New York woman filed a federal lawsuit against Keurig Dr Pepper, over the "Made from Real Ginger" wording on Canada Dry products. She says that she was both misled by that claim and that the company had "hurt her economically."
"[Julie] Fletcher believed this meant that Canada Dry was made using ginger root and was, as a result, a healthier alternative to regular sodas," her attorney, Michael J. DeBenedictis, said at the time. "Ms. Fletcher knew that ginger root can calm an upset stomach and she purchased Canada Dry when her children were sick, believing that the ginger root in the beverage would soothe their stomach aches."
In addition to removing those four words from its packaging, the company agreed to pay $5.20 per household to any affected customers who didn't keep their Canada Dry purchase receipts and $40 per household for those who could prove they'd bought some.
Five bucks? That's barely enough to buy another case of not-quite-as-gingery ginger ale.