How doubt the engine was behind one of the world’s largest beer brands

Our own Belgian beers are not to be despised, but on a global level, is also the Danish Carlsberg as no small player more. In honor of the 170th anniversary traveled to Copenhagen to be there for the soul behind the brand to discover.

The Carlsberg brewery in Fredericia, Denmark. © BELGAIMAGE

Nothing is certain, and not even that. The quote from Multatuli had the slogan of Carlsberg, were it not that founder J. C. Jacobsen his message 170 years ago rather formulated as “Probably the best beer in the world’. Uncertainty and the constant search for better is the driving force behind the most important beer of Denmark, as we discover in the old brewery in Copenhagen. Carlsberg, the story behind the slogan.

Copenhagen, which is the colourful Nyhavn, a small mermaid that buses of tourists lures, the alternative Christiania and… Carlsberg. That might sound like a commercial talk, but there is a grain of truth to it: for 170 years, the company behind the beer played a role that cannot be underestimated in the building of the city.


When in the Carlsberg laboratory, the pH scale was invented, or a method was discovered to purified yeast to grow, provided a true revolution within the industrial production of beer

Upon arrival in Copenhagen, we are greeted by respectable people: in the enchanted museum Glyptoteket will founder Jacob Christian Jacobsen during a TED talk once again be brought to life. The whole event is bathed in an atmosphere of secrecy, but suddenly he’s standing there, on the stage. Or yet, a hologram of decades ago deceased man. It is a nice publicity stunt, but we have to admit that the something different is the philosophy behind the brand is explained by a talking anachronism.


On the basis of letters and diary extracts of J. C. Jacobsen himself suggested to the clever heads behind the hologram is a speech that the founder of Carlsberg ever itself might have. The man lived in a rapidly changing world: the end of the 18th century, Europe was still an agrarian society, a century later, industrialization and urbanization in full swing. That time turned out to be very important for Carlsberg.

“Big changes frustrate people,’ thus says the bearded hologramversie of J. C. Jacobsen while he plays with his high hat, ” and people who are concerned, often fall back on false certainties. They view everything black and white and answer each question with yes or no, without to leave space for an alternative.” J. C. Jacobsen – simply J. C. for the employees of Carlsberg – wanted to understand uncertainty, embrace, and put ‘probably’ as an alternative answer to each question: ‘Probably is a scientific approach of life and leaves the possibility to imagine that everything can always get better. By answering questions with probably, you go new paths to follow, both in terms of business as well as in daily life.”

That striving for better is since the founding in 1847 ingrained in Carlsberg. That proves the brewery not only to grow – the group has 140 brands of beer, approximately 41.000 people in service and sells per year 116.9 million hectolitres of beer, but also by her sharing of knowledge. It was one of the goals of J. C. Jacobsen to not only his beer, but all of the beer in the world to improve. When in the Carlsberg laboratory, the pH scale was invented, or a method was discovered to purified yeast to grow, provided a true revolution within the industrial beer production.

Rich past

When a taxi our way towards the old Carlsberg brewery in the heart of Copenhagen, shows that the driver itself ever again for the brewery has worked, before the big production unit, pulled out of the city. Despite that there is still regret heard in his voice when he talks about that departure, he talks with enthusiasm about his former employer.

About the ugly familievete that a stain cast on the story about the origins of Carlsberg, for example. In spite of their mutual rivalry, wanted to father J. C. that his son, Carl, joined the company stepped. Did that initially too, but after a while exploded the bomb and started Carl would rather be in his own new brewery. That he was right next to that of his father put. And that beer brewed according to he Ny (new) Carlsberg called. That youth of then anyway.

Who also was right in the dispute: it is about the founder J. C. that all words of appreciation go as well as the history of Carlsberg is unearthed. It was also he who is the Carlsberg Foundation founded, a foundation that does scientific research in many different areas and a commitment to the arts. It is also old brewery today under the name ‘Visit Carlsberg’ can visit. There you can see how the beer is brewed, the atmosphere (and the smell of horse stables) to taste and, of course, beer tasting.

The olifantenpoort on the old brouwerijsite of Carlsberg. Note the swastikas on the sides of the images: that were, until the rise of nazism in the 30s of the previous century one of the symbols of the company. © Getty Images

Among the beers on site to drink, there are also a number of deep from the cellars. So tasted for example, we have a bearing which on the label read is that the content is at least tenable to…, november 20, 1994. Penalty costs, but Carlsberg wants to go even further than just her old beers from the cellar dig: the company wants its ancient beers re-create. With the Rebrew Project try the brewery as her “father of the lower’ re to produce. That is brewed with the first batch of pure yeast ever in the world, which for 133 years has survived in a bottle from the cellar.

Nose to the future

But no matter how much Carlsberg her past respects, the company has the nose what is remarkable in the direction of the future. The sustainability objectives that the group has formulated, are at least ambitious. So, the company aims, by 2020, its energy demand can fully fill with electricity from renewable energy sources, will all the refrigerators that dispenses as efficiently as possible, and there must be 25 percent less water wasted. That should result in CO2 emissions that year is halved, and by 2030 are the goals even higher: the company strives semi-become carbon-neutral with CO2 emissions of zero comma zero in its breweries.

Let it be clear: Carlsberg strengthens itself for another 170 years.

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