DENMARK – Danish brewing giant Carlsberg has made a strategic move by acquiring a 20% minority stake in Mikkeller, a renowned craft beer and on-trade operator based in Copenhagen.  

The deal, finalized with investor Orkila Capital, positions Carlsberg to distribute Mikkeller’s distinctive beers in their home market. 

Mikkeller, founded in 2006 by former math teacher Mikkel Bjergsø, has created a distinct niche in Denmark’s beer scene. With its unique packaging, trendy bars in Copenhagen and other cities, and a strong international profile, Mikkeller has become a recognizable and valuable brand.  

Despite announcing the closure of its California brewery and taproom in 2022 due to challenges posed by the pandemic and rising costs, Mikkeller maintains a global presence with bars in cities such as London, Paris, and Tokyo, conducting business in more than 40 markets. 

Mikkel Bjergsø, the founder of Mikkeller, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “For many years, we have offered our customers quality beer, but we have lacked well-established sales channels. With Carlsberg’s considerable sales apparatus, this partnership offers us an opportunity to reach many more consumers.” 

Carlsberg CEO of Denmark, Peter Haahr Nielsen, emphasized the significance of the collaboration, noting, “We have an exciting portfolio of craft beers, and this partnership gives us the opportunity to offer customers and consumers even more unique variants within the category.” 

Under the terms of the agreement, Mikkeller’s founder, Mikkel Bjergsø, will remain the “controlling” shareholder, ensuring the preservation of the brand’s unique character. Carlsberg aims to leverage its extensive distribution network to contribute to the growth of Mikkeller. 

The deal is expected to come into effect in the second half of the year, marking a significant step for both companies.  

Bjergsø highlighted the positive trajectory of Mikkeller, stating, “After some challenging years, we managed to get the business and our profitability back on track. Now, with Carlsberg on board as well, our distribution in Denmark will be taken to the next level.” 

Recently, Carlberg announced a US$12.6M investment in modernizing filling and packaging equipment at its Carlsberg Brewery in Northampton. 

CMBC’s investment includes the integration of the Innofill Can DVD filler and the Innopack Kisters Nature MultiPack (NMP) packer, both developed by KHS. 

According to the Carlsberg Danish Pilsner producer, these state-of-the-art machines aim to improve production efficiency while simultaneously reducing water consumption and plastic usage in packaging. 

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