Breweries in Oslo

In 1776, Christian Stabell was granted a licence by the King to start up a “ship’s beer brewery”, which is believed to be the first beer brewery in Norway. Before this, all Norwegian beer was home-brewed.

In 1821, Jørgen Young founded a brewery in the former Christiania, which was subsequently taken over by Christian Schou in 1837 and christened Schous.

When Schous brewery began to produce lager in 1843, according to Bayern traditions, the production and storage processes were far simpler. This led to the establishment of many breweries during the period 1840 to 1860, and by the late 1950s, there were just under 350 registered breweries in Norway.

The bottling plant at Fortuna og Central brewery
Fortuna og Central bryggeri was based at Fredensborgveien 24. This photograph shows the bottling plant, around 1910. Text: Aftenposten/Osloby, Photo: Wilse/Oslo Museum

In 1912, an alcohol tax was introduced, and this, along with an economic recession and the loss of exports, made running a brewery in Oslo challenging. The diversity quickly disappeared and over the next eighty years, Oslo lost all its breweries, one by one.

Many of these breweries subsequently went bankrupt or were bought up by their competitors. In 1978, Ringnes bought up the merged brewery Frydelund Schous and was left as the only, and last, brewery in Oslo.

Ringnes was estabished in 1876 and in 2001 the brewery moved its production to new facilities at Hjelleråsen, outside Oslo county, and the last Oslo brewery disappeared from the capital. No new Oslo brewery has been founded since. The Danish Carlsberg Group took over the last Ringnes shares from Orkla in 2004.

During 2013, Norwegian craft breweries produced almost 5 million litres of beer, representing over 2% of all beer sales in Norway. During the first quarter of this year, the proportion has already risen by over 50%, and craft breweries are now expected to achieve a market share of over 3% in 2014. In the USA, the proportion of craft beer is around 12%, while in Denmark, which is some years ahead of Norway, the proportion is already around 7%.

Beer brewing has grown in Norway formidably in recent years.
While the major traditional industrial breweries in Norway are being closed down, the numbers of craft breweries and home breweries are rising sharply.
More and more people have developed a taste for good beer and here at Sagene we are aiming to continue and further develop this trend.

Sagene Bryggeri is a Oslo based brewery with deep roots in the industry of Akerselva and the worker community at Sagene.