Finnish beer aid for thirsty NATO troops

Pilsner from a Tornio brewery is bottled and ready to be air-dropped to NATO forces who need some 'thirst aid'.

Label from Tornion Panimo beer / Credit: Tornion Panimo

A Finnish brewery is coming to the rescue of NATO troops to make sure they don’t run out of beer during Operation Trident Juncture.

The NATO exercise, involving 50,000 soldiers, airmen and sailors, is taking place in Norway, with some forces stationed in Finland as well.

They already had a scare last week when bars in Iceland ran out of beer due to scores of thirsty military personnel slaking their desire for local brews.

Keen to make sure this doesn’t happen again, Tornion Panimo has whipped up a batch of Peacemaker Arctic Pilsner to send to NATO troops.

“We actually have the beer with us and when I saw the news from Iceland last week, one of my friends sent a message asking how are you guys going to react to this?” explains Kaj Kostiander, the brewery’s managing director.

“I said we need to get this beer as quickly as we can to Norway, and it has to carry a peaceful message. If these people run out of beer, they’ll get really angry and nobody knows what could happen. We really care about our Norwegian neighbours!” Kostiander tells News Now Finland.

The brewery in Tornio, northern Finland, made an initial 1000 bottle batch of the special beer and designed a label featuring a dove of peace and the slogan ‘if you want peace, drink beer’. They’ve got an extra 12,000 more liters ready to go just in case of emergencies.

The only problem is, how to get the amber nectar into the hands of thirsty NATO troops.

“I actually had one beer export contact in Norway before, and I have a wide network of friends. I messaged to them immediately, and I got more contacts, and trying to find out how to quickly get the beer to Norway, it doesn’t look good to be honest but we’re working on it” says Kaj Kostiander.

The brewery has a backup plan though – delivering crates of beer to Luleå in Sweden, or Rovaniemi. Both locations have air force personnel operating from bases there during the Trident Juncture war games.

“We have a cooperation with a brewery in Luleå who already imports our beer, and we agreed we could send some to them immediately”.

Some 600 Finnish military personnel are taking part in the huge NATO exercise which started last week and lasts for a month. In total, there’s 50,000 men and women, 65 ships, 250 aircraft, and 10,000 vehicles in what NATO calls its “biggest exercise in recent years”.

Finns from the army, navy and air force are involved in the exercise which tests NATO countries’ and partners’ abilities to operate together in a time of conflict.

Tornion Panimo’s most famous beer is their Original Lapland Lager, which can be found in Finnish supermarkets. It’s brewed using the same recipe developed by a master craft brewer back in 1964 for Lapin Kulta.