Beer-hauler Noble keeps the good times rolling

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When you deliver beer, comments from passersby tend to flow freely. Chris Noble has heard a lot of “is it free beer today?” and “it’s awfully hot, how about a cold beer?”

The Beer Store driver said, “If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I would probably own a house. I think it is funny and I try to interact with them. I always say, ‘free beer tomorrow.’”

Picture of Chris Noble in front of two Beer Store trucks.
Chris Noble (Photo: Leo Barros)

Maybe he gets free or cheap beer? The 56-year-old trucking veteran shuts the tap on that thought quickly. “We do not get free or discounted beer.”

Noble has been hauling bottles, cans and kegs for The Beer Store since 1989 – without a single collision. And he has 23 years of safe driving awards to prove it. “I would have had more, but they only started the program 23 years ago,” he said with a big grin.

Driving since 1989

After completing high school, a classmate’s father who was a supervisor at The Beer Store in Toronto offered Noble an opportunity to work. “I started working in 1987 and never left,” he said. He started as a stock handler, assembling products on pallets that went out to customers and stores.

He earned his D/Z licence in 1989, and entered the world of trucking. He obtained his A/Z licence in 2002, and has been driving tractor-trailers ever since.

For the first 20 years of his career, he delivered products to customers and stores across Ontario. Noble acknowledged that it was challenging at times, especially delivering to busy and crowded locations. He said he packed plenty of patience and always put safety first.

Physical job

It also was a very physical job. The beer had to be hand bombed at various locations and empties loaded back into the trailer. It’s not fun when it’s snowing or raining, either, and in summer the heat can be overwhelming.

Nowadays, Noble hauls empties from the Bolton, Ont. distribution center to a recycler in Brampton. He starts work at 5:30 a.m. by checking his assignments for the day, and conducting his truck’s pre-trip inspection.

Empties are collected from various locations and loaded onto trailers. Noble finds his assigned trailer, inspects it, hooks it up and heads to the recycling facility. After backing into a door, he unhooks and brings an empty trailer to Bolton to repeat the process.

“You have to keep watching people. Everybody wants to get in front of the big truck.”

Chris Noble, The Beer Store driver

In the past, he could not stay away from trucking even during his time off. Sometimes he’d haul dressing-room trailers for a movie company to various locations. You’d think it was glamorous work, but he didn’t meet a single movie star.

Noble loves his job but is aware of the challenges that come with it. It is a risky way to earn a living. The sheer volume of traffic and construction can ruin a day. “You have to keep watching people. Everybody wants to get in front of the big truck. And construction is everywhere,” he said.

Focus on the road

People are always in a hurry, including truck drivers, Noble said. But he listens to music and focuses on the road. “I get paid by the hour. I don’t need to drive like crazy. The job will get done, whether it takes me six hours or eight hours. If I have to work into the ninth hour, it’s overtime.”

In the sunset of his career, Noble aims to continue trucking for a while. Sooner or later, it will be time to retire and enjoy life. And yet, trucking is never far from his thoughts. “Maybe a day here and day there up north where I live, if somebody needs my assistance,” he said.

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at

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  • My dad taught me early on that the employees that show up everyday and do a great job are the most important employees. Good work Chris.