Carlsberg Runs Dry In Pori

The planned closure of the Carlsberg brewery at Pori, Finland, has the city’s former jazz festival booker Jyrki Kangas weighing up the opportunities it presents.

Kangas is in talks with an unnamed investor with a track record of converting old industrial sites into leisure spaces, which is the sort of future already earmarked for the Pori estate.

Two years ago, Sinebrychoff – Carlsberg’s Finnish arm – closed down the Pori bottling plant in favour of sending the beer in tankers to its main brewery at Kerava, about 30 kilometres north of Helsinki.

Last year Pori Jazz reopened most of the 2,800-square metre plant as a temporary concert venue called Otava Factory.

Sinebrychoff invested millions of euros in a neighbouring building and turned it into Karhupanimo (“bear brewery”), a small bar and restaurant.

“These two spaces at the factory area led to new views for developing all of it as a cultural centre right in the middle of the city,” Kangas explained. “There are investors in Finland, who are interested in buying these kinds of former factory properties and have the skill to create new kinds of businesses with new kinds of functions.”

Carlsberg and Sinebrychoff announced in March that the Pori brewery, which produces about 40 million litres of beer annually, will shut in September.

The production line will move to Kerava, although the changes are still being protested by traditionalists who feel it will detract from the Karhu brands and from the 31 employees set to lose their jobs.

Having retired as Pori’s chief booker earlier in the year – although he remains part of the new booking panel – Kangas and some private partners have purchased RMJ Partycamp, formerly the RMJ Summercamp festival.

RMJ Summercamp, which had been staged 50 kilometres south at Raumi for nine years, last year moved to a 55-hectare parking and camping site next to Pori’s main arena.