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Last updated on Wednesday, January 16, 2013
(BLOOMINGTON) - Oliver Wine Company in Bloomington has filed a lawsuit claiming it was forced to recall some of its wine because a design flaw in the containers caused its beverage to stink.
According to the lawsuit in Monroe County Circuit Court, the wine company ordered 1.3 million beverage cans from Ball Metal Beverage Container that caused its Beanblossom Cider in 500-milliliter aluminum cans, while still sealed go bad.
Oliver Winery claims in its lawsuit that sales of its new product, launched in 2011, was getting 'outstanding reviews from consumers' until it started buying aluminum containers from Ball.
Ball Metal Container operates out of Monticello, Ind., and its parent company, Ball Corporation, is based in Colorado.
Ball spokesman Scott McCarty says Ball will not comment on pending legal matters. and has filed for the lawsuit to move to an Indianapolis federal court, since product liability cases typically involve federal laws and jurisdiction.
Oliver Winery wrote in its lawsuit that it wanted to expand its five-flavor line of Beanblossom Cider by contracting with Ball for 1.3 million aluminum cans.
During the design phase of that new contract, Oliver Winery claims that Ball requested on Nov. 16, 2011, that the winery "send at least one pint of each of your products to our lab for analysis. This is done to test the compatibility of your product with aluminum cans, and to determine the correct amount of internal coating we need to use when producing your cans."
The winery claims in its lawsuit that Ball then confirmed that the Beanblossom Cider was compatible for the 250-milliliter cans and linings, falling within the performance specifications developed by Ball.
Oliver Winery then issued a purchase order dated Jan. 20, 2012, a copy of which was included in the lawsuit with all prices removed from the document. It shows 263,700 aluminum cans were ordered for each of its five flavors, including its original hard cider, peach, blueberry, raspberry and strawberry.
Shortly after the Beanblossom Cider hit the market in Ball's aluminum containers, Oliver Winery's lawsuit claims it started getting complaints from its consumers about a "foul odor" when the aluminum cans were opened.
"The odor was caused by a chemical reaction from copper pitting in the cans, which produced hydrogen sulfide in the Beanblossom Cider," attorneys for the winery wrote in the lawsuit.
The winery's lawsuit states that, at first, Ball admitted that the wine was within the acceptable copper content that was originally tested.
However, the winery claims that Ball later changed its position to blame the winery for making wine containing copper above the limits in the design specifications.
Oliver Winery started a voluntary recall of the containers of its wine made by Ball as a result of the defect, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit asks a court to award money to the winery for negligence and for breach of the written and verbal warranties that the product would work as designed. The lawsuit also claims Ball breached its contract and produced a defective product.
"Oliver Winery has suffered and will continue to suffer damages as a result of Ball's breaches of its express warranties," attorneys for the winery wrote in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit also spells out that 500-milliiliter aluminum bottles made by a different manufacturer continue to perform just fine for its Beanblossom brand.
The winery is asking for a jury trial, claiming it had testing performed on its production tanks and the cans in question and found the wine had the same levels of copper that were originally provided to Ball before the cans were purchased.
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