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The Tragically Hip announces lawsuit against Mill St. Brewery

A screenshot from Mill St. Brewery’s Instagram account, just one alleged example the Tragically Hip has provided of unsanctioned use of their work and brand.

Kingston’s legendary rock band The Tragically Hip announced yesterday that they have launched a lawsuit against Mill St. Brewery. At issue is the brewery’s 100th Meridian Beer, which shares a name with the popular 1993 Tragically Hip song.

“Many of you are probably under the impression that we are associated with Mill Street’s 100th Meridian beer – we are not,” said a statement from the band sent to fans via email newsletter.

The band’s statement includes screenshots of social media posts from Mill St. Brewery’s Facebook page, aligning the beer with the Tragically Hip and using images of the band. The Facebook posts now appear to be removed.

“It turns out that Mill Street Brewery has used our band name, our albums, and even Gord Downie’s picture on their social media in connection with their 100th Meridian beer,” said the band’s statement. “We weren’t happy that… our fans were being led to believe that by buying Mill St’s 100th Meridian Beer [they] were supporting us.”

The band said they have tried to resolve the issue directly with Mill St. for several months but have been unsuccessful.

“They didn’t take us seriously and were frankly disrespectful,” the band’s statement read. “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. We took this step to clear up any confusion once and for all.”

On its website, Mill St. classifies the beer as one of its core brands, and describes it as “an organic beer brewed with ingredients from west of the 100th Meridian.” This is the line of longitude generally used to set the boundary of Western Canada.

Mill Street is a subsidiary of Labatt, owned by multinational brewer AB InBev. The band’s full statement of claim can be viewed here.

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Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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