Carlsberg primed to position itself at centre of new 'beer revolution'

By Ed Bedington contact

- Last updated on GMT

Back to the lab: Carlsberg celebrates 170th anniversary by rediscovering scientific roots
Back to the lab: Carlsberg celebrates 170th anniversary by rediscovering scientific roots

Related tags: Beer

Carlsberg is poised to put itself at the centre of a new beer revolution following its rediscovered love of brewing science.

Jessica Spence, chief commercial officer, said the business had lost its scientific focus on beer in recent years, but was now seeking to change that and put research back in the spotlight.

The company was founded by JC Jacobsen who went on to create the Carlsberg Foundation, which was dedicated to scientific research in the field of beer.

“The laboratory is the heartbeat of our business and we lost that over the past five to 10 years. This place is special because there is nowhere like it in the world. We have fantastic scientists with a mix of disciplines, all focused on beer under one roof.”

Founder Jacobsen's focus on science was aimed at both improving and developing the quality and understanding of beer, which no other major brewer is doing, claimed Spence.

'We've come back to it'

“We didn’t for a while,” she said, speaking at the brewery’s 170th anniversary celebrations in Copenhagen, “but we’ve come back to it”.

Rebrew, the project that saw the company recreate the original Carlsberg lager​ following a discovery of a bottle containing the original strain of yeast, which made the beer famous last year, was the first step in that direction, she said.

“The 170th celebrations are a bit of an excuse to remember our love and passion for beer is what makes us special and strong.

“We were behind the last big revolution in beer – they don’t come along that often – and we’re probably due another and we want to be the ones driving that.”

As part of the celebrations, the company revealed three new brews that followed Carlsberg's mapping of barley's genome.

Carlsberg Research Laboratory vice-president Professor Birgitte Skadhauge was behind the work that has seen the company create new varieties of barley.

The latest of these, the Null-Lox 4G, has now been used to create new lager variants that the lab was now showcasing.

First of the three

The first of the three was a single malt lager, produced using a single variety of malting barley from the same field. Skadhauge said the lager is the culmination of 25 years of research into creating a more sustainable strain of barley that is also of higher quality.

Single Malt, at 5% ABV, has a caramelised colour and, according to the brewer, it has excellent “clarity and fresh taste, which is expected to stay virtually unchanged throughout its shelf life”.

A second product, Young Lager, was created using unripe, unmalted green barley, which Carlsberg claimed is a new way of using barley, allowing for a more sustainable production in parts of the world where the growing season is too short. This is a 5.5% ABV product with a light colour and a very slight greenish foam.

Red Lager is Carlsberg's third innovation and is produced using a special red barley, which the company has spent several years cross-breeding to create high enough yields to allow for brewing. This 5.2% ABV lager is claimed to be a true red beer with no artificial colours and a nicely balanced taste.

As yet, none of the beers are expected to be commercially available, but Carlsberg lab’s head brewer Erik Lund said it showcased the innovation that was coming out of the laboratory.

Related topics: Beer, Ale & Stout, Lager

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