Traffic Jam & Snug in Midtown sues Blake's Hard Cider Co. over new cider's name

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
Michigan-based Blake's Hard Cider Co. released this promotional image for their new cider, Traffic Jam, which Traffic Jam and Snug in Midtown alleges violates trademark and other laws.

Longstanding Detroit-based microbrewery and restaurant Traffic Jam & Snug on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against another well-established Michigan business, Blake Farms Hard Apple Cider. 

The complaint alleges that Blake’s strawberry, blackberry and raspberry semi-sweet cider named Traffic Jam violates the Trademark Act of 1946 and other laws. 

According to the lawsuit filed Tuesday, representatives for Traffic Jam sent a cease and desist letter to Blake Farms earlier this spring, which the cider company allegedly did not respond to. 

“Blake’s use of Traffic Jam’s “Traffic Jam” mark in the manner described is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or to deceive consumers as the affiliation, connection or association of Blake Farms with Traffic Jam,” the lawsuit argues. 

“This matter was just brought to our attention and our trademark attorneys will be reviewing the complaint. Once we gather more information, we will be better-prepared to speak on this,” said Andrew Blake, owner and founder of Blake’s Hard Cider, in an emailed statement to The Detroit News Tuesday. 

In a press release issued in early May, Blake’s Hard Cider Co. announced the debut of the year-round product Traffic Jam, which is sold in 12-ounce, six-pack cans in Meijer and Kroger stores.

Blake’s Hard Cider distributes to 18 states and produces more than 50 unique producers per year. As an apple producer, Blake Farms’ roots go back decades, and the Armada-based, family-owned business established its hard cider company in 2013. 

Traffic Jam, which opened in the 1960s in the Cass Corridor at West Canfield and Second, is asking for damages and requesting in the lawsuit that Blake Farms stop sale and distribution of the Traffic Jam cider, destroy all promotional material with Blake’s Traffic Jam name and pay for the Detroit business’ legal fees. 

Traffic Jam restaurant, which is also a bakery and dairy, became a microbrewery in 1992, according to the suit, and since then has produced and marketed alcoholic beverages with the “Traffic Jam” name.

Twitter: @melodybaetens