We meet founder of Danish beer company Mikkeller for International Beer Day!

For us it was a happy accident – trawling through the various beers in a Marks & Spencers one warm afternoon during the COVID lockdown period and our eyes fell upon a brightly-coloured can of pale ale called ‘Stick a Finger in the Soil’.

This both amused and delighted us, and upon further research we discovered Mikkeller is a Danish world-renowned Copenhagen-based craft brewery founded by school teacher Mikkel Borg Bjergsø. We brought 3 beers home with us and promptly got in contact with Mikkel to find out more.

Happy International Beer day! What Mikkeller beer do you recommend would be best to celebrate with today and what food to have it with?

Happy International Beer Day to you too! I would recommend Iskold Classic (icecold classic) which is my interpretation of one of Tuborg’s most popular beers in Denmark ‘Tuborg Classic’. I would drink it with Smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches)- a classic Danish lunch.

Mikkeller Baghaven is home to a tasting room where you can sample beers made on site, purchase bottles to go and sample beers from other brewers creating similar styles.
More info here

What do you think sets you apart from other craft beer brands?

That we not only make beer. We have 45 locations – bars, restaurants and shops – around the world, an international running club (and cycling club) with over 260 chapters and also do a lot of collaborations with a lot of interesting and talented people

Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (Credit:Camilla Stephenson)

You have a wonderful sense of community with the Mikkeller brand, what do you feel has helped build this community?

A very concrete example of something that has helped build the Mikkeller community is the Mikkeller Running Club, which has spread rapidly in more than 260 cities across the world. The concept is simple; you run with fellow MRC members and enjoy a beer afterwards. In general we operate with a very inclusive mindset and I like to think that this permeates everything we do.

Mikkeller is a really innovative brand  – how do you cultivate this innovation within the company? Has this helped you adapt during the Covid Crisis?

By urging employees to take responsibility but also giving them a certain freedom to experiment and come up with new fun ideas. We never really did anything by the book and have always been very unorthodox in our approach to PR and Marketing for instance, which has defined the spirit and the DNA of Mikkeller. 

It has definitely helped us during this crisis because we are not afraid of changes and are used to thinking out of the box and to constantly adapt.

Take your pick of the excellent beers on show with Mikkel Borg Bjergsø (Credit:Camilla Stephenson)

You are also going global – did you ever envisage the company spreading so widely across the world?

It was not the plan from the beginning, but as the company grew, and we started distributing our beers around the world, the possibilities and different partnerships also evolved, so it has been a natural development of the company.

What has the Mikkeller team been listening to or watching recently – have they any recommendations that we can enjoy while drinking one of your beers?

Our very talented and gifted friend Aaron Dessner from the National has co-written and produced the new Taylor Swift album, which has just been released, so we’ve been giving that a spin. 

Describe Mikkeller using 5 words

Unpretentious, fun, innovative, inclusive and quality.

Mikkeller & Friends, Stefansgade Nørrebro. More info here

To purchase Mikkeller beers, head to your nearest M&S, or online here: https://shop.mikkeller.dk/

Interview by Alex Minnis

Credit to Camilla Stephenson for Mikkel Borg Bjergsø Photos

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