No ordinary beer run

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TORONTO, Ont. — It was a colossal move, by any standards. And due to some savvy marketing, both Challenger Motor Freight and Molson-Coors enjoyed a lot of attention as six massive beer vats were transported by road from the Port of Hamilton to Molson’s brewery in the north end of Toronto this month.

The six beer vats, each measuring 150-ft. in length and towering 27-ft. off the ground – on their sides, no less – were each large enough to contain 1.4 million bottles of beer. Purchased from a manufacturer in Germany, Molson-Coors called upon Challenger to handle the Canadian portion of the trip with the goal of ramping up beer production in time for patio season. Because of the height of the vats, Challenger required utility crews to remove power lines as the slow-moving convoy wormed its way from Hamilton to Toronto over the course of 10 nights. All the work was done between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., to avoid traffic and minimize disruptions, explained Frank DeVries, energy transportation manager for Challenger.

The move took twice as long as originally planned, due to a snow day that kept the trucks idle and some frigid weather that made work difficult for utility crews. When asked what posed the greatest difficulty during the move, DeVries said “I would say the weather.”
However, despite the delays, DeVries rated the move a perfect 10 when the vats arrived at their destination early this morning.

“I don’t have any disappointments, let’s put it that way,” he told And neither did Molson-Coors, which enjoyed an incredible amount of fanfare over its investment. Challenger publicized the move via a special Web site and a Twitter account was created to keep the public up to date on the convoy’s whereabouts. By the end of the move this morning, the Twitter account @ChallengerMF had more than 1,500 followers. The move also caught the attention of the mainstream media, with daily updates published in major newspapers and on local TV news channels.  

The six oversized beer vats were hauled aboard hydraulic platform trailers with as many as 16 axles, DeVries said. Even when parked, the convoy attracted curious onlookers who were fascinated by the size of the vats and the specialized equipment used to transport them. Looking back on the project, just hours after the vats were delivered to the brewery, a tired DeVries said “It was a pretty uneventful trip. It did take longer than anyone had anticipated but it all arrived safely and with no damage. That’s the most important thing.”

He also had some kind words for the utility workers, police officers, drivers, steermen and everyone else who pitched in. “Everybody really pulled together well,” he said.

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  • I have enjoyed & drunk Molson beer for over 50 years— made from Canadian made beer tanks–NO MORE–.

    Look at the mess German made fast fairies created for B.C. Fool me once shame on you fool me twice shame on me–(MOLSON).

    $24,000,000.00 for SIX beer tanks–their must be at least 10 Canadian co’s. that could have made these tanks & made a handsome profit.