Carlsberg and patents

A few weeks ago I went to Copenhagen. Even though I’m not a beer fan I like visiting breweries and learning about their story. Usually they have contributed to the history of the region.

I liked the Carlsberg museum more than the Guinness one, even though I enjoyed both. The Guinness brewery is more modern… and they have a nice bar with a nice view where everyone can enjoy their free Guinness.

Something that I didn’t expect got my attention in the Carlsberg museum. A patent related topic. I haven’t found much information on the Internet… but a copy-paste from

[only] a few types of yeast (the pure yeast) are suitable for brewing, and he developed a technique to separate the pure yeast from the wild yeast cells. The problem had been solved, and the new Carlsberg yeast – Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis – was applied in the brewing process.

The propagating method revolutionised the brewing industry. Rather than to patent the process, Carlsberg published it with a detailed explanation so that anyone could build propagation equipment and use the method. Samples of the yeast – Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis – were sent to breweries around the world by request and young brewers came to Carlsberg to learn the skills.

In the museum it says that about 90% of Lagers contain Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis.

So, Carlsberg shared the knowledge… it’s a bit like free software, open data… 🙂

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