Carl Jacobsen

The Carlsberg Pioneers

A life for beer and beauty

The first student exchange programme

Today, it is common for students to go on exchange programmes abroad. This wasn’t the case when Carl was young, but Jacobsen senior was, as usual, ahead of his time and wanted Carl to be educated around Europe. Carl spent four years in France, Germany, Austria and Scotland where he became familiar with top-fermented British beers. He came home with the two treasures of his life: a great knowledge of beer and his bride-to-be, Ottilia.


Brewing Disagreements

When Carl returned, in 1871, JC gave him the new Annexe Brewery to run as a tenant brewer. JC’s plan was that Carl would produce Ale and Porter, leaving the lager to him. Unfortunately, the new beer didn’t go down too well so Carl decided to brew lager in competition with his Dad. That didn’t go down well either.


One of the first trademark right disputes

After the fallout with his father, Carl set up his own brewery. The year was 1882 and he called it Ny (new) Carlsberg. At this point the two Jacobsens disagreed on everything from Carl’s expansion plans to the name of the brewery. JC didn’t want Carl to use the same name and took him to court. Carl won the battle. JC had met his match.


Brewing As Art

The new brewery was a success; Carl combined his training abroad, his experience with the first brewery and his connections to practically every brewer in Europe to build a model brewery. He employed the architect Vilhelm Dahlerup and master builder P.S. Beckmann to create the new chimney for his factory.

The new construction is nothing like a usual industrial stack. At 56m tall, it features motifs of Egyptian lotus flowers and Gargoyles similar to those on Paris’ Notre-Dame. It is considered one of the ten most creative chimneys in the world. Carlsberg had reached new heights.


The Power Of Beauty

Carl grew up surrounded by art and started his own collection very early on in his life. He believed that “art must not only be the rich man’s possession. It must be just as joyous for the common man so that he too can feel the power of its beauty.” He established several trusts in support of art, opened his private collection to the public and eventually, in 1882, founded the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen. You probably know the statue of the Little Mermaid? Well that’s just another gift from Carl to his beloved city. As his father had established the Carlsberg Foundation to support science, Carl established the New Carlsberg Foundation to support art. Father and son probably had more in common than they would ever have admitted….


Birth Of An Icon

The famous Carlsberg logo was introduced in 1904 when Old Carlsberg commissioned the Danish architect Thorvald Bindesbøll to design a label for their Carlsberg pilsner. Both the label and the logo are still in use today and have become so iconic that they received the award of the Danish Design Centre.


A Rose A Day

In his later life, Carl Jacobsen developed slightly eccentric habits. Just to mention one, every morning his gardener would deliver a dark red rose to him, which he carried around all day between his teeth. He believed the fragrance of the rose would add to the beauty of his life.


One Carlsberg Is Better Than Two

In 1906, New and Old Carlsberg were officially reunited under the Carlsberg Foundation and Carl became the first managing director of the Carlsberg Breweries. He instituted a pension fund and introduced an eight-hour work day to his employees. Probably pioneering in workers rights.