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Mikkeller signs deal with Carlsberg

Carlsberg has acquired a 20% stake in Mikkeller in a deal that will see Mikkel Bjergsø maintain controlling interest and remain as CEO.

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Speaking to the drinks business, Mikkeller CEO and founder Mikkel Bjergsø, said: “We can confirm that Carlsberg has acquired a 20% stake in Mikkeller. Carlsberg has bought the primary stake from our current co-owners, Orkila.”

The sale, which was made for an undisclosed sum, has been rumoured by insiders close to the scene as a significant amount, but nothing compared to the amount that Carlsberg offered for the entire Mikkeller business.

According to industry sources: ““Carlsberg offered DKK1 billion (£115 million) for the lot [but] the US company which owns 49% weren’t prepared to sell their shares just yet.”

In querying the amount offered for the 20% stake, Bjergsø told db: “Regarding the deal itself, we have an agreement with the other parties involved not to disclose specific information related to the transaction details.”

However, the insider hinted that “regardless, Mikkeller becomes a Carlsberg brand” and “Mikkel walks away with a big wedge and still owns shares”.

Revealing more about how the agreement will affect the business, Bjergsø told db: “As to what the deal entails, we will now get the capability to distribute our beer on a much broader scale than previously through Carlsberg’s unmatched distribution channels.”

He explained that “a lot more people will be able to buy our beer across Denmark, as we will get much wider access to cafés, bars, restaurants, etc” and assured that “this also means we at Mikkeller will gain more freedom to focus on expanding our business across other markets, while focusing on our current bars and restaurants”.

Speaking about the partnership in a statement, Bjergsø also admitted: “This is a big day for me personally. When I, almost 20 years ago, dedicated myself to brewing beer, it was with a great deal of verve and an ambition to give far more people access to high-quality beer. 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. 2023 was a really good year for Mikkeller. 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. I am excited about the coming years, where we are truly ready to put Denmark on the map among the best beer nations worldwide”.

Enthusing about the partnership, Carlsberg Denmark CEO Peter Haahr Nielsen added: “Mikkeller is a strong brand, and we will do what we can to help it achieve even more success amongst customers and consumers in Denmark. We have an exciting portfolio of specialty beers, and with this partnership, we will be able to offer customers and consumers even more unique varieties in this category. We are intent on Mikkeller keeping its very particular characteristics while we with our execution apparatus contribute towards growth in the brand.”

Mikkeller’s bars and restaurants will continue to be operated as previously by the same Mikkeller team – both in Denmark and globally. The details outlined by the Danish brewer have reassured beer fans that Mikkeller “will remain dedicated to developing new and innovative concepts, beers and events”.

The deal will come into effect in the second half of 2024. ‍

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