Emil C. Hansen
A cultural pioneer.
When the going gets tough…
Emil came from a very poor and eccentric family. In his youth, he tried almost everything to make a living, from theatre performances and house painting, to a career in art and teaching. He also wrote stories. At one point, he was so poor and desperate that he considered traveling south to join Garibaldi’s army in Italy.
The tough get going.
Luckily for him, and for all beer lovers of the world, he got a reasonably paid job as a tutor. He could finally make enough money to support his studies and even won a gold medal at Copenhagen University for his study of Danish fungi. It’s a short genetic step from fungi to yeast. He soon started working at Carlsberg as a researcher on “organisms in beer.”
The science of better beer.
In 1883 Emil announced his system of pure yeast cultures. He revealed that ‘bad beer’ was not only a result of bacterial infection, as French biologist, Louis Pasteur had assumed, but contamination by wild yeast. Until then brewers re-used beer from previous fermentations. Isolating yeast meant they could use “fresh” clean yeast every time, significantly improving the brewing process and taste consistency. He then worked to isolate a single cell of good yeast and propagated it into a pure culture. The new “Carlsberg bottom yeast n.1” was used for the first time, and with great success, on a production scale in November 1883.
A celebration of beer love.
In 1902 Hansen celebrated 25 years of work at Carlsberg and was presented with a gold medal by Carl Jacobsen. The award was a recognition for being one of the most influential pioneers in the fermentation industry.