The Tragically Hip Sues Mill Street Brewery Over Lager

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The Tragically Hip sued Mill Street Brewery on Tuesday for more than $550,000 over its 100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager.

“We took this step to clear up any confusion once and for all,” the band’s surviving members wrote in an email to fans. “We all know ‘At The Hundredth Meridian’ was Gord Downie’s idea, not Mill Street’s.”

The song “At the Hundredth Meridian” appears on The Hip’s 1992 album Fully Completely. Downie died of brain cancer in 2017 at 53.

The Hip said that despite having no association with the band, “Mill Street has used our band name, our albums, and even Gord Downie’s picture on their social media in connection with their 100th Meridian beer.”

Toronto-based Trillium Beverages Inc. makes Mill Street, which was acquired by Labatt in 2015. There are Mill Street-branded brewpubs in four cities across Canada.

The band said it tried to “sort it out” with Mill Street for months. “They didn’t take us seriously and were frankly disrespectful,” reads the message. “We have been around a long time, and have always been able to work things like this out without a lawsuit. Unfortunately, not this time.”

The 34-page lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in Federal Court in Toronto, alleges the brewery is infringing on The Tragically Hip’s trademark and “knowingly or recklessly made one of more representations to the public that are false or misleading.”

It claims Mill Street is riding “on the coat tails of one of the most beloved bands in Canadian music history by marketing its beer with reference to The Tragically Hip and one of its quintessentially Canadian chart-topping tracks.”

The band alleges Mill Street has “created, fostered and failed to correct, confusion in the public, to its benefit and to The Tragically Hip’s detriment.”

The lawsuit seeks to have Mill Street “remove from public view all posts on its social media accounts featuring reference to the plaintiff or featuring public comments drawing an association between the defendant, its good, services, or business and the plaintiff.”

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Mill Street has not commented on the lawsuit. On its website, the company says 100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager is “brewed with ingredients from west of the 100th Meridian.”

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