Tragically Hip sues Mill Street Brewery over promotion of 100th Meridian beer

·2 min read

TORONTO — The Tragically Hip are suing a Toronto brewery for alleged trademark infringement in the promotion of its 100th Meridian lager.

The legendary Canadian band has filed a suit in Federal Court against Mill Street Brewery, a subsidiary of Labatt, which is owned by Belgian multinational brewer AB InBev.

The Tragically Hip allege in legal documents that Mill Street has tried to "pass off on the fame, goodwill and reputation" of the band.

"Many of you are probably under the impression that we are associated with Mill Street’s 100th Meridian beer — we are not," the band said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Mill Street acknowledged receipt of the statement of claim on Wednesday.

"We are disappointed this step has been taken and are confident that the claim is without merit," said Daryl Minor, general manager and president of Mill Street, who added that the brewer would not offer further comment.

"At The Hundredth Meridian" was a hit single on the Tragically Hip's 1992 album "Fully Completely." Its title refers to the line of longitude that marks the beginnings of the Great Plains.

Legal documents filed by the Tragically Hip on Tuesday allege that Mill Street tried to associate the 100th Meridian Lager with the band through misleading social media posts.

One example cited by the band shows a Facebook post by the Mill Street Brewery in Toronto that says 100th Meridian is "an appropriate beer to celebrate the Tragically Hip playing Yonge and Dundas Square" on Oct. 8, 2014 for the NHL season opener between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens.

Another Facebook post cited in the legal documents is an advertisement from the Mill Street Brewpub in St. John's, N.L., announcing that the bar would be broadcasting the Tragically Hip's final concert on Aug. 19, 2016, with a special on pints of 100th Meridian during the show. That post featured a link to a CBC article that had a photo of the band performing.

The group said in its statement on Tuesday that it tried to sort things out with Mill Street for months but was unsuccessful.

"They didn't take us seriously and were frankly disrespectful," the band said in its statement.

"We have been around for a long time, and have always been able to work things like this out without a lawsuit. Unfortunately, not this time."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 10, 2021.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press