At Carlsberg, flavour and the environment go hand in hand with profit
The company Carlsberg has made innovation, quality and environmental sustainability its best weapons of competition. It has a turnover of more than €140 million in Italy, and a “green” system, which is revolutionising beer distribution throughout the world.
When you enter Carlsberg in Induno Olona you do not have the sensation of being in a factory. It is the intense smell of hops and malt and the barrels piled up neatly, which remind the visitor that he is in a beer temple, suspended in time, between the past and the future. A sequoia, the king of the wonderful park (a genuine botanical garden) that gives the factory an Art Nouveau-style, stands as a sentinel for the passing time, almost a century and a half since the moustached Angelo Poretti began this adventurous enterprise.
The “wedding” with the Danish Carlsberg Group was quite a recent occurrence. Three dates mark the epoch-making passage for the brewery in Induno Olona: 1975, the year in which the two beer producers began collaborating and making arrangements; 1998, the year in which Carlsberg purchased the shares of Poretti, changing its name to “Carlsberg Italia”; and 2002, the year of the full takeover.
Currently, Carlsberg, with its 23 brands and one million hectolitres of beer produced last year, is the third largest producer in Italy, employing 350 people countrywide, including 80 in the plant in Induno. It is a sound company, as the special ranking produced by “Made in Varese” shows: with a turnover of €140 million, Carlsberg is 20th (out of 1179 companies) in the general ranking of the best companies in Varese Province, and 2nd in the food industry ranking, behind the giant Lindt & Sprungli.
The success of this group is thanks to its healthy obsession for innovation, which it has demonstrated since it was founded. Starting from the Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis in 1883, over the years, the Carlsberg Research Centre has studied yeasts to obtain the variety that can impart to the beer a perfect flavour that is more stable over time. Recently the “Null-Lox” was patented. This exclusive non-GM barley allows obtaining a fresher and more pleasant product, with a better head that lasts longer, and is produced using fewer pesticides. Last year, another innovation was introduced. The “Modular 20” has revolutionised the method of pouring beer, increasing its freshness and removing the need to use CO2. It was calculated that by replacing all the steel barrels in Carlsberg Italia with barrels of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate, a material used for food and beverage containers), a saving of CO2 equivalent to 170 thousand trees would be achieved.
“In the case of beer in barrels,” explains Alberto Frausin, CEO of Carlsberg Italia SpA, “innovating means giving a better quality product, with an environmental impact that is almost half that of the traditional product. Today we are revolutionising the system by changing the steel barrels, which are the way beer is distributed all over the world, from the Americas to the Bering Strait to China, with PET barrels. Such revolutions happen once every 50 years.”
As we all know, rankings and turnover are the pride of managers, but for the founder of Carlsberg, Jacob Christian Jacobsen, money was not everything; in fact, in 1882 on the Dyplon Gate, at the entrance to the brewery in Copenhagen, he had these words branded: “Develop the art of producing beer to the highest level of perfection, irrespective of the immediate profit.”