Denmark: Fuglsang sells brewery to Royal Unibrew

After more than 150 years, Denmark’s oldest family-run brewery, Bryggeriet S. C. Fuglsang has been sold to Royal Unibrew A / S. On April 29, the management board of Fuglsang Holding signed a corresponding takeover agreement, which sealed the purchase of Bryggeriet S. C. Fuglsang A / S in Haderslev as well as Mineralvandsfabrikken Frem A / S in Ribe to Denmarks No. 2 brewer (10 million hl beer in 2018).

Bryggeriet Fuglsang has been founded in 1865 by Søren Christian Fuglsang and was until now managed by the 5th generation of the family, namely by the brothers Kim and Claes Fuglsang and their cousin Henning Fuglsang. The brewery had a pre-COVID production of 75.000 hl beer and non-alcoholic drinks (including juice and post-mix).

However, even after selling the brewery, the family keeps being involved in the industry, as they continue to run Denmark’s largest malting company Sophus Fuglsang Export-Maltfabrik A/S. Sophius Fuglsang operates two malthouses in Denmark (Haderslev and Thisted) with a combined malting capacity of about 150,000 tons and an export quota of 75%.

The decision to sell was not an easy one, according to Kim Fuglsang. "In the Danish beverage market there are only a few big players and very many small ones. We're not so small that we fit into the microbrewery category. After we took over the manufacturer of non-alcoholic beverages FREM in 2016, we expanded in a short time both, our product range and our distribution network, to become the fifth largest brewery in Denmark. But we also saw that the way to be one of the big companies was still a long one. In the long term, it would have been a bad business to continue fighting in the middle class," says Kim Fuglsang.

In the last months with the ongoing pandemic (although the pandemic was not directly the cause for the sale), the family had enough time to think about the future of the family business and came to the conclusion that “selling makes sense - even if it makes us sad.”

After thorough considerations the management came to the decision that Royal Unibrew, with its size and the advantages associated with it, was the best partner for Fuglsang. "Royal Unibrew consists of regional breweries and brands such as Albani in Odense, Ceres in Aarhus, Thor in Randres, Faxe and a few more. Royal Unibrew respects local and regional beers and their history and their activities also extend into the international arena.”

According to the agreement, Fuglsang Holding continues to own the buildings in Haderslev which will be rented to Royal Unibrew. Both sites, the brewery in Haderslev as well as the soda-plant in Ribe will continue to operate. All brand and distribution rights for the 11 different beers and 10 different sodas will be transferred to Royal Unibrew. The employees of the two plants are given the opportunity to take up employment at Royal Unibrew.

In the coming months, Henning Fuglsang will mainly be responsible for handing over the operations, while Kim and Claes Fuglsang will now take care of the malting even more than before. From autumn on, Henning will also work in the malt house.

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