Friday, November 10, marks 170 years since the very first beer was brewed at the Carlsberg brewery in Valby, Copenhagen.
All employees in Carlsberg Hong Kong, together with employees across Carlsberg's 150 markets, celebrate the brewery group’s 170th anniversary with a traditional Danish Layer Cake. Decorated with whipped cream and red berries, the special birthday cake is baked for the very first time by the local team for its employees.
Carlsberg’s 170th anniversary kicked-off with a full week of celebration in Copenhagen in August, with guests from all of Carlsberg’s markets visiting the historic brewery site. During the week, Carlsberg brought its founder back to life using the latest techniques in hologram technology, erected the world’s first ZERO Carbon Windmill Bar, and organised a huge street party on Old Carlsberg Road in Carlsberg City district for more than 10,000 guests.
The special Layer Cake came to Denmark at the same time as the Carlsberg pilsner in the late 1800s. The first recipe is published in the famous Ms. Jensen's Cookbook from the same time that Carl Jacobsen, the founder’s son, donated the Little Mermaid to Copenhagen. Now, more than 100 years later, the recipe has traveled over 7,000 kilometers and will be used for the first time in Hong Kong to celebrate the 170th anniversary.
“It’s super fun to think that the cake made its entrance in Denmark while Carlsberg invented the cultivation of yeast and launched the world’s first quality beer.” says Bjarke Bundgaard, a Danish beer historian.
Brewing for better today and tomorrow for 170 years
In 1811, Jacob Christian Jacobsen, the founder of Carlsberg, enters the world. When his father dies in 1835, J.C. Jacobsen takes over as a brewer. J.C. was born to brew. Driven by his passion for beer and an early interest in the natural sciences, J.C. Jacobsen sets out on a lifelong journey to improve the quality of beer. His first stop is Bavaria where he studies the brewing techniques for a new beer at Gabriel Sedlmayr's zum Spaten brewery in Munich. In the summer of 1845, carrying two pots of Spaten yeast in a customized hat box, J.C. returns to Denmark by stagecoach.
On this long journey, he keeps the yeast cool by stopping frequently and dousing it with cold water. J.C. Jacobsen's first batches of lager are made in his mother's copper wash basin. They are refined in his brewery till he gets them just right. This new lager needed a new brewery with larger cool storage space. Taking the name of his five-year-old son, Carl, and the Danish word for hill, "bjerg", he builds his new brewery just outside Copenhagen. With that, Carlsberg is born in 1847.
In 1868, Carlsberg export begins. The founder exported Carlsberg beer to Asia immediately afterwards. First barrels of beer to Hong Kong was shipped in 1869. Carlsberg has been officially present in Hong Kong since 1923. Carlsberg has been striving to brew better beers; beers that stand at the heart of moments that bring people together. For instance, The Carlsberg Laboratory, founded by J.C. Jacobsen in 1875, has reached many scientific milestones, such as the development of pH-scale. The passion to perfect the art of brewing and the innovative spirit brewed bright in J.C. Jacobsen, and remains in our DNA today.