The Carlsberg group is one of the largest brewers in the world. Headquartered in Copenhagen since 1847, they continue to produce some of the best known global beer brands including Carlsberg, Tuborg, Baltika, and Kronenbourg 1664. With revenue of approximately $10 billion, this is an enormous organization with a well-defined group of products.
But customers are always looking for new ideas and flavors. How can a company like Carlsberg explore innovative new ideas? The answer is: by exploring interesting new markets and using technology to reduce the time to market.
Carlsberg owns a specialty beer brand called Jacobsen. The company has recently been exploring the high-end beer market where Jacobsen beer can be specifically matched to certain foods, just like wine. In fact the beer is served in wine bottles, and because the alcohol content is above 10%, there is no need for a sell-by date, creating the opportunity for cellaring.
Many of the Carlsberg brands are popular and high-volume, so these efforts to work with academics at the Nordic Food Lab and Michelin-starred restaurants show a willingness to explore new markets and define new flavors. Soon, you might be ordering a Jacobsen instead of a bottle of wine with dinner.
Even more exciting is how Carlsberg has embraced the use of Artificial Intelligence to create their own system to detect different taste and aromas—it’s like an artificial nose for beer. Developing a new beer brand takes 8 to 24 months and relies on human tasters or chromatography and spectrometry to determine the correct aroma and flavor. The Carlsberg system is just at the initial stages and should take three years to become commercially viable, but when delivered it will remove the need for this constant testing, it can all be automated.
Carlsberg is showing a remarkable ability to explore new market segments and to innovate in important areas for their business. If they can streamline the process of creating new brands and bringing them to market then that can create a significant competitive advantage.
Both the willingness to explore new markets and the use of technology to enable a faster response to market demands show a business that is putting the customer at the heart of their strategy. It’s a great example of a large company putting the customer experience first. Cheers to that!
Image by Jakub Dziubak via Unsplash