In the 1980s, Richard Bosselman met a new friend named Ken, who moved from Cranbrook to New Zealand.
Eventually, after the pair grew close, Ken (whose last name Bosselman declined to reveal to protect his privacy) moved back to Canada with his wife, but not before Bosselman promised to visit him.
And so began a legendary beer run.
Ken was having a hard time finding his favourite beer, Kokanee, in his new home. So he requested Bosselman pick some up on his way over.
“When I arrived in Canada, when we arrived to visit, he said, get me some Kokanee beer,” remembered Bosselman.
“I can’t seem to get any.”
Bosselman grabbed a pack, hopped on the train, and began the long journey to visit.
“You know how you treasure a good beer? I tried lots of different beers when I was in Canada, but he was right. Kokanee’s certainly a great beer.”
“So, my wife Carolyn and I wanted to take the train, the famous train that goes across Canada. I had to go and find a case of beer and take it on the overnight train. It was a lot of fun because everybody wanted the beer.”
Many years in the future, after Ken ended up moving once more to New Zealand, the two would meet up for a beer and to share memories.
Unfortunately, Kokanee was not quite as easy to get in New Zealand.
“It was just one of those things you joke about, all the good times. And Kokanee beer seemed to turn up in that conversation quite a bit. So, I figured it would be nice to get him something because you can’t buy it here.”
Ken has gotten sick and Bosselman wanted to give him a Christmas gift to raise his spirits. Unfortunately, he once more ran into an issue after finding The Kokanee Beer Gear Store in Creston did not ship to New Zealand.
However, he found a helping hand in the valley, the Kokanee Beer Gear Store manager Melanie Joy.
“Of course, after hearing his story, I definitely had to help,” said Joy.
“Richard was pretty determined to bring some happiness to his friend. So, when I got the email, of course, I had to help. It was a beautiful story.”
She wasn’t set up to ship internationally, but that wasn’t going to stop her.
“I had to go about trying to figure out how to send a package to him in New Zealand. And there were definitely some changes I had to make in my store in regard to payment, but I knew that we just had to get the package to him, so we kind of fumbled our way through it.”
Bosselman says Joy was brilliant and was extremely thankful for her going above and beyond.
Joy was just happy to share some happiness.
“I think it’s super important, especially when the product means so much to somebody; when it can bring the memories and the thoughts and make somebody smile or be happy because of some memory that they have.”
“I think that is one of the best things about any sort of retail, is that connection. So of course we would do our utmost to make sure that we’re sending that happiness to our customers.”
And so, the package containing some Kokanee gear was sent and will hopefully be there in time for Christmas
“It’ll be a nice little memory,” said Bosselman.
“He’s not well, and so it’s just a nice thing friends do for each other. And we’ll probably have a beer, but just pretend it’s Kokanee.”
“We’ve always thought Canadians were great people and this just really cemented it. It’s a small thing, but it means a lot and it’s a heartfelt appreciation.”