Carlsberg has snapped up a minority stake in Danish brewing peer Mikkeller.
The beer giant has acquired 20% of the Copenhagen-based brewer and on-trade operator. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Under the terms of the deal, Carlsberg will distribute Mikkeller’s beers in their home market.
Carlsberg bought the stake from investor Orkila Capital, which will remain a shareholder in Mikkeller. Mikkel Bjergsø, Mikkeller’s founder and CEO, will be the company’s “controlling” shareholder.
“This is a big day for me personally,” Bjergsø, who set up Mikkeller in 2006, said. “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.”
The agreement is set to come into effect in the second half of this year.
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Peter Haahr Nielsen, the CEO of Carlsberg’s domestic business, described Mikkeller as “a strong brand”.
He added: “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.”
In 2022, Mikkeller announced plans to close its brewery and taproom in California as the company pulled back from international expansion. At the time, the business pointed to “two years of Covid and the difficult current rising cost environment”.
The announcement came weeks after Mikkeller said CEO Kenneth Madsen would step down after under two years at the helm. Madsen’s departure was described as a mutual agreement, due to the global expansion plan he was brought in for no longer being “realistic to implement”.
Mikkeller still has bars in cities including London, Paris and Tokyo. The company says it does business in more than 40 markets.
Without citing figures in his statement on Carlsberg’s investment, Bjergsø described 2023 as “a really good year” for the business. “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.”
Just Drinks has approached Mikkeller for details on its sales and profits in 2023.