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Emil C. Hansen

The Carlsberg Pioneers

Carlsberg yeast man

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 studying to be a teacher. 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.

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The Tough Gets Going

Luckily for him and for all beer lovers of the world, he was then accepted for a job as a tutor. He could finally support his studies and even won a gold medal at Copenhagen University for his study of Danish fungi. It’s a short step from fungi to yeast, so he soon started to work at Carlsberg as a researcher on “organisms in beer.”

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Good Beer Is A Science

In 1883 he announced his system of pure yeast cultures. Hansen understood that “bad beer” was not only a result of bacterial infection, as Pasteur had assumed, but contamination by wild yeast. 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.

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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 recognition for being one of the most influential pioneers in the fermentation industry.

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