Canadian troops in Afghanistan were able to hoist their favourite regional brew, including Kokanee, to toast Canada Day, thanks to employees of Labatt Breweries of Canada.
Beer from each Labatt brewery across the country was shipped to the remote Asian country, following a tradition of troop support that dates back to the Second World War, when Labatt opened the Motor Mechanics Army Trade School to train soldiers as mechanics.
“The beer is really just a token of our enormous appreciation for Canada’s armed forces and all that they do for Canadians,” said Jeff Ryan, senior director of corporate affairs. “Especially on Canada Day, we should all take a few moments from celebrating our national pride to reflect on the critical role that Canada’s military men and women have played in making us one of the best nations on earth. Their dedication, both at home and overseas, is to be greatly admired.”
Brewery and logistics employees from each of Labatt’s six breweries across Canada as well as the company’s Mississauga, Ont., distribution centre joined forces to honour Canada’s armed forces with a taste from home — a cold beer representing the various regions of Canada where Labatt breweries are located.
Employees specifically chose a beer brewed locally at each brewery to ensure troops from everywhere in Canada had a familiar taste. Creston’s Columbia Brewery sent Kokanee, and Budweiser was sent from Edmonton, Labatt Blue from London, Ont., Labatt Extra Dry from Montreal/LaSalle, Que., Alexander Keith’s IPA from Halifax, N.S., and Blue Star from St. John’s, N.L.
“Creston’s Columbia Brewery has always been a stellar corporate citizen, so it’s no surprise that the employee’s thoughtfulness extends to our troops,” Mayor Ron Toyota said. “I can imagine that it’s small gestures like this that help make spending Canada Day away from home and family a little more tolerable.”
The company also assisted with the repair of public vehicles during wartime due to a shortage of trained mechanics on the home front. In 1951, Labatt delivered 3,500 cases of Labatt ale to the troops fighting in the Korean War. In addition, Labatt continues to honour the military through the True Patriot Love Foundation, which provides support to Canadian military, veterans and their families.