Tower…this is Molson Air


Molson Air!

Team Molson Air Afghanistan

I loooooooove this story and have been waiting for so long to post it!  A year in the making…The Can of Molson Excel that flew a mission in Afghanistan.

Story below from: Don Wall, President and CEO, Canadian Helicopters Limited (largest helicopter transportation services company operating in Canada)

In March of 2009 Canadian Helicopters Limited (CHL) began providing helicopter transportation services to the US Military in Afghanistan. The contract involves the supply of 11 contracted aircraft for the transportation of personnel, mail, food and other supplies between US Military base locations. Normally, when aircraft arrive at an airport, the pilots identify the aircraft’s five letter ‘call sign’ to the control towers using the phonetic alphabet: “This is Charlie‐Foxtrot‐Bravo‐Kilo‐Oscar”. That’s quite a mouthful when coming and going from a high traffic airport eight or nine times a day. On the very first day of the contract, one of the Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) announced, “We can’t be using those long‐winded call signs. You need a code name.” Of course everything and everyone has a code name in the US military; they had recently named a Russian helicopter contractor after a popular brand of Vodka. CHL suggested a few code names, but they were rejected for various reasons. When the Americans were asked “what comes to mind when you think of the words ‘Canada’ or ‘Canadian’?”, the response was unanimous:


CHL’s aircraft are now referred to as “Molson 1”,“Molson 2”, etc. and the operation is fondly known as “Molson Air”—a blend of two very distinct icons, but both truly Canadian.

Awesome, right?  A little more to the story…

In early 2010, I was contacted by Todd from CHL. Todd had a simple request – would Molson Coors Canada be willing to donate some product to their military base location in Afghanistan?

We donate Molson Canadian throughout the year to Canadian Troops overseas, so we were happy to help out, but this request was a bit different.  Pilots are always on call, so we needed to arrange for our non-alcoholic beer, Molson Excel to be delivered :)   After some back and forth with Todd and help from our distribution team, we had fresh Molson Excel brewed in time to hitch a ride on a cargo plane to Afghanistan.

And to end the story perfectly….

Last week Don dropped by our brewery in Toronto to deliver a framed “Can of Molson Excel” to Dave Perkins, our President and CEO on behalf of the CHL and “Molson Air Afghanistan”.  The Can of beer was actually flown on a combat mission!  So awesome.

Thanks guy and be safe up there.  Cheers…”Molson out”

Don Wall and Dave Perkins

L-R: Don Wall, President and CEO CHL and Dave Perkins, President and CEO, Molson Coors Canada

18 responses to this entry

  1. Awesome, guys!! Thank you!!
    I, for one, am so very proud to be a Canadian!

    Lynn Gasbarino
  2. What a great story…proud of our strong and be safe all men and women serving

    Randy Budge
  3. I was wondering if you could clarify a couple items from this blog:
    1. As most of our Canadian Forces personnel are stationed in Kandahar (a “dry” camp) I am curious as to where you are sending the Molson Canadian that you “throughout the year to Canadian Troops overseas”?
    2. CHL is a civilian company contracted to provide logistic services to the US Military. Was the can of Excel taken on a US Military combat mission or is CHL actually taking part in combat operations?

    Don’t get me wrong, I support our Canadian troops and all of our coalition partners. I spent 6 months in afghanistan as a civilian with the Canadian Forces and I have worked for the Canadian Military for over 10 years and counting. I just want to ensure that support for “our troops” should actually be support and not a tacit connection to the war in an attempt to better market your product.

    I’m not going to engage in a long drawn out verbal battle with the many people who will undoubtedly want to debate anything that I have said, however, if anyone from Molson would like to contact me I would be more than willing to discuss this matter further.

    Jeff Clements
  4. we all know for a fact, they did not send non alcoholic beer to afganistan

  5. Thanks @Lynn and @Randy for the comments!

    Tonia Hammer
  6. @Jeff – Appreciate your comments. We do donate product a couple times per year – exact timing varies depending on request date. Product donation is just a small part of our support of the Canadian troops and their families – we also work with Operation Santa Clause, True Patriot Love Foundation, and many other organizations. More info on those initiatives-

    I don’t have the information to answer part two of your question at this time, but I will certainly pass it along to the appropriate people.
    Cheers, Tonia

    Tonia Hammer
  7. lovin to hear this Molson is the greatest beer on earth! I have lived in AUSTRALIA for 12 years and miss a great Canadien every day I drink there pissy aussie beer. why not fly some of that liquid gold to australia and help me out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! a loving Molson Canadien beer fan for life

    Raine Davidson
  8. Très belle mais as asser habiller pour le temps froid merci

    Allen lacombe
  9. Angela in Québec city

    Clinton hesje
  10. Merci coors ligot pour vos anges

    Rock thermaux
  11. J’ai bien aimer sa lo j’ai u du plaisir

    Antonie Thériault
  12. @Shawn: Ahhhh but they did send over non-alcoholic beer! I’ve been a passenger of Molson Air and know many of their employees. I’ve also been a recipient of the donated beer. Trust me, in the sandbox near beer tastes like gold.
    As a shout out to Molson Air: Keep up the fantastic work!! Cheers!

  13. Well I’m just about as proud as an uncle could be proud of his nephew and his involvement with the Molson Air Team there in the Afgan sandbox. This is indeed such a great success story and a tribute to all us Canadians. Keep up the great work guys, be well and safe, and know that you’re never far from our thoughts every day! Love, Your Uncle Ken

    Ken Arnott
  14. Molson Air rocks over here!
    Many of us “FOB hop” routinely, but planned military movements take too much time.
    Urgent travel needs require Molson Air efficiency! They go to the extreme to provide solid immediate flight service, and are a fantastic bunch of folks.
    They all reaffirm the Canadian reputation for good nature and are incredibly well respected here in Afghanistan. I don’t know how to say thanks in Canadian (lol), but we all so appreciate Molson Air. Thank you, each of you…..!

    Patrick "Rock"
  15. I can’t agree more with Patrick there. As a US Soldier who just returned from a year in Afghanistan, Molson was a lifesaver for our group who constantly relied on Air Transportation to complete our mission. If we knew ahead of time that Molson Air was available, we always headed that direction first. Not only was it faster and easier to get to where we needed, but the crews were always more courteous than we could have ever hoped for. You guys ROCK! I saw a guy with a Molson Air hat when I got back here at Ft. Campbell, is that something you guys make/sell? I was jealous! Thanks for all the support!
    CPL Spencer Emch
    101st ABN DIV (AASLT) Rock Band, “NUTS!”

  16. i need the molson air rules picture standing at the pax-area mazar…
    anybody able to help me.

  17. Molson Air is the way to go to move around Afghanistan. They were fantastic both in the air and and in the office.

  18. I’ve been on the Molson flight’s for a few months and this team is great! From the pilots& crew chiefs to the “pretty” dispatchers!
    This is a “TOP NOTCH” team. They get the job done!
    Way to go you Canucks!!


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