The Ringnes Brewery
on a picture to view a larger copy.
just had to see the Ringnes Brewery ("bryggeri" in Norwegian
-- the "y" is pronounced like "ew"). Tours of the
brewing operation are no longer given, but a very kind employee who
speaks good English, named Per Carlson, arranged to meet us and take us
through the Ringnes Brewery Museum. (http://www.ringnes.no)
Fortunately for us the brewery is right on a tram line, and not very far from the city center, so we found it without any trouble. Except for steel silos that rise overhead, all the brewery buildings are brick. Mr. Carlson informed us that the brewing of beer is no longer done at this location, and that these days it is a bottling facility. Tanker trucks painted to look like enormous Ringnes beer cans bring in the beer from the breweries.
One of the oldest buildings houses the company museum, and Mr. Carlson took us there. After sampling the product in the lounge, we learned that the brewery was founded in 1876 by two brothers, Ellef and Amund Ringnes. They came to Oslo from a town called Krødsherred (or Krødsherad), which is about 60 kilometers northwest of Oslo. The brewery grew rapidly, during a time when Norway was emerging from hard economic times and a spirit of national identity was rising. After becoming successful, the brothers sponsored a polar expedition by Otto Sverdrup aboard the ship Fram, in 1898.
I don't know whether our Ringness ancestors also came from
Krødsherad, but since our trip, I have been able to gather some
information on this area -- unfortunately, it's all in Norwegian!
Perhaps at some future time we'll try to track down Herman and Patrina
Ringness's roots in the Krødsherad area.
Ringnes beer is no longer available in the United States, because the cost of importing the beer to the U.S. makes it too expensive to compete with other brands. The Ringnes brewery make several types of beer, the most popular of them being Lettøl ("let-ool"), or light beer. Compared to brands you would be familiar with in the U.S., it tastes something like Heineken. Ringnes also makes a Pilsner brand (much like the lettøl), and an alcohol-free brew called Vørterøl (which I mistakenly bought at a grocery store.) Based on the number of outlets that serve Ringnes beer, it seems to be the most popular brand in Oslo
As in the U.S., the beverage industry in Scandinavia has gone through a good deal of consolidation. Ringnes is now part of a larger congomeration of beer and soft drink companies, which includes Carlsburg (Danish beer) and Pripps soda. Blue Ringnes delivery trucks advertise mineral water as well as beer.
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This page last modified on January 15, 2001