On the first Friday of November, Tuborg’s Christmas brew, Tuborg Julebryg, is launched. This marks the beginning of the festive season and is known as ‘J-day’ in Denmark.
In Denmark, Copenhagen and other major cities across the country are transformed into giant snowscapes. But since the tradition began in 1990, a number of countries, including Germany, Japan and Serbia, have replicated ‘J-day’, and this year, Iceland, Sweden, Romania and Switzerland will join Denmark when Tuborg Julebryg is launched on November 3 at 8:59pm CET.
“For me it’s great fun when other countries join this Christmas tradition. Tuborg Julebryg is one of my absolute favorites of all the different beers we brew. I love to celebrate J-Day when the Christmas brew is launched and months of work culminate in one of the biggest events of the year,” says Mikkel Laust Broe, brewmaster at Carlsberg Danmark’s brewery in Fredericia.
Dressed in traditional Christmas elf-outfits and singing the traditional Christmas brew song to the tune of Jingle Bells, employees of Carlsberg Danmark deliver free samples of the festive brew to locals in bars and restaurants. Branded horse-drawn carriages and trucks will transport the elfs around, and one of the trucks is fitted with Carlsberg’s innovative beer dispense system, DraughtMaster. This allows for fresh samples of Tuborg Julebryg on draft for the bar guests.
“Tuborg Julebryg is actually a traditional Christmas brew. It has a bit higher alcohol percentage than a traditional lager, and it’s darker, sweeter and more spicy, accompanying well the many Christmas occasions and the traditional food of the season. It is brewed on lager, münchener and caramel malt, and spiced with liquorice. Recently, we changed the recipe back to the original, and last year we improved the liquorice flavour with a new variety of liquorice from Afghanistan. It took our quality team more than two months to approve it, because we love traditions, and we didn’t want it to change too much. The result is remarkable, and now it tastes almost as it did when it was launched in 1981,” says Mikkel Laust Broe.
Tuborg Julebryg’s familiar snow-universe was first introduced on a Christmas card in 1979. The brew was launched two years later in 1981, whilst a commercial from 1984 portraying Santa chasing a Tuborg beer truck in his slay is still used to this day. Since 1990, J-day has been a seasonal tradition in Denmark, although J-Day has been moved around several times. From 1990-1998, it was the second Wednesday in November and the Christmas brew didn’t arrive until 11.59 pm. In 1999, it was moved to the first Friday of November at 8.59pm, in large part due to the number of young people who missed school after partying the night before.
This Friday, Tuborg’s Danish elfs visit 454 customers in about 3 hours spread over 58 routes across Denmark’s major cities. The 396 employees who help launch the Tuborg Julebryg on J-day are backed up by the so-called Night Owls, a NGO of responsible adults that champion a safe and responsible night life in visible yellow jackets, to help ensure J-Day is carried out in a controlled and enjoyable manner.