PUBLISHED: 3:49 PM on Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Juneau brewing company receives Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease Award

Courtesy photo
  From left: Alaska-Siberia Research Center Chairman Alexander Dolitsky, Alaskan Brewing Co-founder and Co-owner Geoff Larson and Director of Marketing and Sales Fred Hees. They are pictured with the medallion in Alaskan's tasting room and gift shop.
The Alaskan Brewing Co. was given the Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease Award in recognition of its support of a monument honoring the program that helped defeat Nazi Germany in World War II.

Alexander Dolitsky, chairman of the Alaska-Siberia Research Center, presented the brewery with an honorary medallion and addressed the Alaskan Brew Crew during a companywide meeting.

"The award was established to recognize those who make significant contributions to North American relations, peace among allies and Russian-Alaskan studies," Dolitsky said.

"With the help and leadership of Alaskan Brewing, the memorial will honor Alaska's critical role in World War II and help foster cooperation and peace."

Alaskan Brewing general manager Linda Thomas accepted the award on behalf of the brewery.

The medallion, one of only 200 minted by Alaska Mint, shows the monument designed by Juneau artist R.T. Wallen. It also bears the words "Allies" and "Unity."

The bronze and granite monument was erected in Fairbanks in August. Fairbanks was critical to Lend-Lease and the war effort.

Nearly 8,000 American aircraft were sent to Russia, many of them changing hands from American to Russian pilots at Ladd Field.

Casts of the sculpture also will be placed in Nome, Alaska, Canada and Russia along the Lend-Lease flight routes.

The award was especially meaningful for Geoff Larson, co-founder of Alaskan Brewing.

Larson's father, Verne, was recruited from North Dakota to work for the Lend-Lease program in Washington, D.C., in the 1940s.

"This complex program required bridging cultural differences and working with different countries in a common effort," Larson said.

"As Alaskans, we applaud the efforts to acknowledge the Alaska-Siberian portion of the Lend-Lease program and the work of dedicated people like my father on both sides of the Bering Strait."

The first recipients of the Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease Award were President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Other recipients include former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov, Alaska's U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and several World War II veterans.

For more information about Alaskan Brewing Co., please visit

For more information about the Alaska-Siberia Research Center and the Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease Award, please visit