Renaissance man. Founder. Visionary.
A well-rounded character.
A true renaissance man with an unquenchable thirst for progress. And beer? Probably. J.C. Jacobsen was born in 1811. He started brewing his first lager in his cellar, like many home brewers today. In 1847, at the age of 36, he founded his first commercial brewery in Copenhagen. A believer in science, he shared his knowledge with fellow brewers. He loved and supported music and art and was heavily involved in politics and society.
So, who’s Carlsberg?
It’s a question many people ask. J.C. Jacobsen actually named his brewery after his son, Carl and the hill or ‘bjerg’ on which the brewery stood. We still climb it today on our bikes.
Beer is for sharing.
In 1875, J.C. Jacobsen did something unprecedented and started the first industrial research laboratory. This put him and the Carlsberg brewery on the map for research, science and innovation. Even more revolutionary, anything discovered at the lab was freely shared, even the yeast. Up until 1988, the yeast was distributed from the tower to anybody who wanted it. It was even shared with other brewers. As J.C. used to say, there’s nothing to fear from your competitors when you brew probably the best beer in the world.
The spirit of generosity.
J.C.’s mantra was to make great beer regardless of immediate profit. Other brewers often complained that he was keeping his prices so low, he was destroying the market. J.C. would reply that it was his job to brew the best beer as cheaply as possible, adding that he would keep doing this even if he didn’t make any money at all.
A toast to progress.
From time to time, J.C. would have a dinner party where he invited the brightest minds of his time. Scientists, artists, actors, musicians and writers, including H.C. Andersen, would sit around Jacobsen's table to share a nine-course dinner and their ideas. It was probably during one of these dinners in 1876, that the brewer decided to establish the Carlsberg Foundation. This still exists today and every year it invests to support art, science and culture.