(limited liability company)
|Founder(s)||Mikkel Borg Bjergsø
Kristian Klarup Keller
|Area served||Copenhagen, San Francisco, Bangkok (bars)
|Revenue||€3.3 million (2011)|
|Owner(s)||Mikkel Borg Bjergsø|
Mikkeller is a so-called "phantom" or "gypsy" microbrewery founded in 2006 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The brewery was founded by two home brewers, a high school teacher Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and a journalist Kristian Klarup Keller with the intention of bringing their home-brewed beer into public awareness and to "challenge the beer friends with intense new tastes". The two also found some inspiration for their widely-varied, edgy brewing approach from the American breweries that "aren't afraid to play and break all the rules".
Before founding the company, self-taught home brewers Bjergsø and Keller experimented on brewing, first by trying to clone existing beers. After success in blind tastings, the two started creating their own recipes and joined multiple home brewing competitions in Denmark, eventually winning many of them. The brewery's activity was small and "underground", with kitchen-based brewing and serving the beer only in a few beer enthusiast meetings and in small local bars. Bjergsø's brother founded a beer shop in 2005 and began to distribute the duo's beer to selected destinations in many countries. In 2006, encouraged by the wider appeal, Bjergsø and Keller founded a brewing company under their home brewery name "Mikkeller".
Later in the same year, an experimental beer called Beer Geek Breakfast gained fame to Mikkeller when it won an international beer voting in stout category. After that Mikkeller made its first official appearance in Copenhagen Beer Festival, where the brewery successfully introduced eight different beers. The acclaim resulted in an international distribution deal. To cope with demand, Mikkeller started to brew its beers in existing breweries, by paying rent for the machinery and costs of the brewing process. Therefore the two didn't need to take a huge loan in order to invest in their own facility and professional brewing equipment.
Keller parted ways with the company in 2007, as he was not interested in producing and focusing on more than a handful of beers, while Bjergsø was eager to constantly create new recipes and tastes. Keller quit brewing in order to pursue his career as a journalist. Since his partner's departure, Bjergsø has been leading the brewery all by himself.
Today, Mikkeller's beers are sold in over 40 countries around the world; only 10 percent of Mikkeller's beers are sold in its home country Denmark. Mikkeller's style of brewing is considered to be unique, since many of their beers are experimental and have tastes hardly ever seen before in the beer industry. During its history, Mikkeller has brewed over 600 different beers in, unlike many other microbreweries, a wide variety of styles. The releasing pace is considerable, for example in the year 2010 alone Mikkeller introduced 76 new beers. Some of the beers are constantly in production, while most of the products are available only for a limited time, in small batches, at a certain location, or all of the above. This is because of the great number of different beers and the fact that Mikkeller beer is highly prized among beer enthusiasts worldwide; as a microbrewery Mikkeller cannot meet the demand for their beer.
Like in its first years, the company still brews solely at a variety of host facilities, mainly at de Proef Brouwerij in Belgium, but also in breweries in Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. All the recipes are, however, engineered at Mikkeller's own facility in Copenhagen. Altogether, the annual output is 8,500 hectolitres of beer. In addition, Mikkeller is also producing collaboration beers with other breweries. These breweries include BrewDog, To Øl, Nøgne Ø, Lervig Aktiebryggeri, Three Floyds, Cigar City and AleSmith. Mikkeller also brews or has brewed so-called "house beers" for few restaurants and bars in Denmark and a few other countries.
Mikkeller has won the "Danish Brewery of the Year" award in its inaugural year, 2006, and again in 2008. In 2009 the award was shared with Hornbeer. Mikkeller has also been chosen the fifth best brewery in the world two times. Many of the brewery's beers have also received critical acclaim and won multiple awards.
Mikkeller does not offer tours in its brewery, since it officially has none, but it does have a home base of sorts in its Mikkeller Bar in Copenhagen. In March 2013, Mikkeller and another Danish microbrewery To Øl opened the second Mikkeller bar in Copenhagen, called Mikkeller & Friends. At the same time a Mikkeller Bottle Shop opened, selling bottled beers from Mikkeller and "other praiseworthy microbreweries around the world". In July 2013, the Mikkeller bar venture went international as the Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco, California opened. Later in the same year Mikkeller announced that they are opening their second foreign bar in Bangkok, Thailand.
Since 2010, Mikkeller has been a host and organizer for a big annual beer festival, Copenhagen Beer Celebration, which takes place every year in May. The festival features mainly small breweries around the world, with many of them premiering brand new beers or even making a small one-off batch of special beer just for the festival.
When working as a math and physics teacher in high school, Bjergsø taught after school two of his students how to brew beer. In 2010, those two students started their own microbrewery, To Øl, with which Mikkeller has recently been collaborating. While operating independently, Bjergsø's brother, Jeppe, founded and operates Evil Twin Brewing, another gypsy brewery. The two share a mild rivalry.
- Microbreweries Gain Ground. Netpublikationer.dk
- About Mikkeller. Official Mikkeller site.
- Profile of Mikkeller, Beeradvocate
- Lurie, Joshua. "Interview: brewmaster Mikkel Borg Bjergso (Mikkeller)". FoodGPS. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- List of Mikkeller Beers. BeerAdvocate.
- Mikkeller - Company Information (In Finnish). Alko.fi.
- Mikkeller Bars. Official Mikkeller site.
- Mikkeller & Friends. Official Mikkeller site.
- Mikkeller Bottle Shop. Official Mikkeller site.
- Mikkeller Bar SF Is Opening. Official Mikkeller site.
- Next Mikkeller Bar in the Making. Official Mikkeller Facebook site.
- CBC Contact. Copenhagen Beer Celebration.