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