Carl Jacobsen’s lager project

From The Scotsman, February 1870. Showing that Carlsberg was not only exported to Scotland, it was also sold there.

That old man Jacobsen wasn’t too enamoured of his son’s ideas of importing lager beer to Great Britain is clear to see from the letters he sent to Carl while Jacobsen the younger was on his four-year stint around the brewing capitals of Europe.

With the attitude of ‘I’m sure you’ll grow out of it’ he referred to Carl’s plans to sell his beer as The Project, but seemed more pleased by his son’s embracing of the commercial skills he lacked. That didn’t mean he took him seriously, though 

But Carl had something. By March 1869, Theilmann had ordered another six barrels (Jacobsen only sent him three) and asked for more, for another distributor, Russell, but Jacobsen only had 15 available . Russell was also certain that Carlsberg Beer would sell and reckoned that he could easily sell the  2,200 barrels brewed for the following season . Theilmann even went so far as to suggest that Carlsberg Beer would be able to compete on the home market with Bass and Allsop’s Ales and Messrs. W&J Russell of Leith backed him up ordering first 50 and then a further 100 barrels.

By this stage it seems that even Jacobsen was beginning to believe in The Project and the sale of his beer in Great Britain – although only as much as he believed would sell and only at the quality (and maturity) he thought was suitable. He remarked in one of his letters of the alarming trend of delivering “half-matured” lager all year round.

 He did, though, draw the line of selling his beer in a “shop” in London. Far too awful to contemplate.


About Andrew

Former Grocer journalist and Carlsberg PR, turning lager historian
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