Probably Denmark’s Last Draft Lager as Carlsberg Plant Is Halted

Bars in Denmark risk running out of draft beer after a labor dispute caused production to be halted at a brewery operated by Carlsberg A/S.

The brewery, located in the town of Fredericia, produces all of Carlsberg’s draft beer in Denmark, spokesman Jens Bekke said today. Carlsberg estimates it controls about 70 percent of the country’s draft beer market, he said.

Workers in a part of the brewery where beer is transferred to kegs walked out Aug. 14 because a new hire isn’t affiliated to a union that all other employees are, Bekke said. The 130 strikers are part of a total workforce of 800 at the site, he said. Production of soft drinks is also affected.

Carlsberg has a stock of draft products lasting about a week and customers usually hold one-to-two weeks of inventory, Bekke said. The company has an option to substitute some of the affected products with bottled beer, he said.

Labor laws prevent Carlsberg from asking whether or not a person is part of a union when recruiting. Such laws also prohibit the company from dismissing the worker. The Danish labor court has ordered striking workers at the Fredericia plant to be fined for every hour they are on strike.

“We hope they will go back,” Bekke said. It’s difficult to see how the situation will be resolved otherwise, he said.

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