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Carl Jacobsen

Our founder's son and competitor

Carl Jacobsen, brewer, art collector and philanthropist


Carl Christian Hillmann Jacobsen was born March 2, 1842 as the only child of J.C. and Laura Jacobsen. 

From 1866, he conducted a four year study trip to the leading breweries in France, Germany, Austria, England and Scotland, where he became familiar with top-fermented British beers.

Upon his return, his father trusted him with a brewery to run in an annex, thinking he could produce Ale, Porter and Lager. However, he underestimated his son's desire to produce better beer, and soon, they were in competition.

Carl is selling his beer under the Carlsberg name (he calls it New Carlsberg), and much to his father's disapproval, Carl produces a beer with a shorter storage time. Sales at Carl's brewery surpass that of his father's. This sparks a family feud between father and son.

J.C. Jacobsen has his lawyers evict Carl from the Annex and legally attempts to limit his production capacity. He even tries to force Carl to change the name of his brewery. J.C. also wants to keep the label design to himself, but Carl does not cooperate.

In 1881, Carl is officially allowed to set up hos own brewery by the name of New Carlsberg, and he does so in 1882, while his father's enterprise at the same occasion changed its name to Old Carlsberg. 

Father and son eventually reconcile in October 1886, just before J.C. Jacobsen's death in 1887.

Carl eventually help lead a unified Carlsberg to great multinational endeavors.

He was married to Ottilia Jacobsen from 1874 until her death in in 1903. They had eight children together, but four of them passed away untimely.

Did you know?

Carl was a an eager cultural enthusiast known for his interest in Greek and classical art. His engagement led to the inauguration of the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in 1897, to which he donated his entire, rather substantial antique art collection. The museum is still regarded as one of the most important Danish art museums.

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In the service of art

In his own words, Carl Jacobsen placed himself “in the service of art” – a service that became his life’s work.

Just as J.C. Jacobsen believed that science was the key to a better society, so Carl Jacobsen believed that by being surrounded by beautiful things, people themselves became better people. In his eyes, art was edifying and should be supported on an equal footing with science.

Carl Jacobsen also distinguished himself as an art collector, a patron and a curator of his own art museum, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. Here in the centre of Copenhagen, the public can enjoy his unique art collection, one of the finest in Northern Europe.

Carl Jacobsen’s passion for art can be clearly seen at Carlsberg today, where the decoration of the industrial buildings was given top priority.

Here, for example, you can see the 56 metre-high Winding Chimney featuring motifs of Egyptian lotus flowers. To this day, it remains one of the true pearls of industrial architecture.