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The Great Dane

We’ve just happened upon an issue of the 4/18 magazine. And there we found loads of interesting articles: like a report on the Faxe Brewery. And because we immediately started browsing, we want to share this discovery with others. Here, however, there’s space for only a brief summary; there’s more about the subject on the magazine article.

The Faxe Brewery was founded in 1901 in the eponymous town on the east Danish island of Zealand, and for decades was one of many small Danish breweries. It was not until the 1970s that it outgrew the borders of its locality and began to distribute its beers nationwide. Probably the biggest change in the firm’s history took place in 1989, when Faxe merged with the Jyske Bryggerie and with Royal Unibrew to form what is today the second largest brewing conglomerate in Denmark.

2017 was the group’s most successful year so far. The Faxe Brewery alone produced 2.3 million hectolitres of beer and 1.6 million hectolitres of soft drinks, malt beverages and cider. These figures include production under licence of Heineken beers and Pepsi-Cola soft drinks.

Strong focus on export

Faxe produces 23 different worts; the proportion of exports is extremely high at around 70 per cent. Royal Unibrew is thus Denmark’s biggest beer exporter, with deliveries to 75 different nations.

  • Of the 70 per cent of beers exported, about 30 per cent go to Germany. Then Danish consumers re-import the beer directly again in small quantities – duty-free. This phenomenon is attributable to the beer tax, which in Denmark is almost four times as high as in Germany. The fastest of the four canning lines, rated at 90,000 cans per hour, works almost solely for these cross-border exports.


  • In Germany itself, the most familiar Faxe package is the 1-litre can known as “The Great Dane”, which is mostly offered at motorway services and in some supermarket chains. The demand for this product has nearly doubled in the past two years. The cans are filled on an in-house line rated at 22,000 cans per hour.


Challenge: limited space available

Since the demand for its brands has been steadily rising in recent years, Faxe decided to invest in a new canning line. This nowadays fills both beer and cider, plus soft drinks, for outputs of up to 72,000 containers an hour.

“In terms of soft drinks, we’ve come up against the limits of our capacity, whereas with beer, thanks to the new Krones line, we now have free additional capacities of around 300,000 hectolitres in the filling area again,” explains Keld Norup Lauridsen, Head of Production and Warehouse.

The biggest challenge for both Krones’ planning engineers and Faxe’s technical management was to integrate the new line into the existing hall. After all, the brewery operates a total of nine lines in one hall, all of them installed in a very confined space.

“Firstly, it was a challenge, because the space available was extremely limited. Secondly we had to install the line and make the requisite modifications while the adjoining lines continued to be run at full production speed,” explains Keld Norup Lauridsen, “and that while coping with almost 700 SKUs to be handled in the filling operations – so it was a very complex job.”

So Krones installed the new line in two phases within a one-year period: first the wet end, then the dry end. And although the new line handles more than twice as many containers as the previous 40,000-cph line, it nonetheless had to be accommodated on the same footprint, which is why Krones decided on a two-level configuration.

Bottleneck eliminated

When asked why the firm opted for Krones, Keld Norup Lauridsen has an unequivocal answer: “Krones builds good machines and our relationship with Krones has been rock solid for many years. I’ve been working in the brewing industry for 43 years. Beer is my vocation. One of the most successful projects I’ve experienced during what are meanwhile seven years with Faxe was a joint one with Krones – namely the installation of a pre-owned Krones PET line in 2014. That went like clockwork, and was also one of the reasons why we now opted for Krones again.” But the time after the line’s been purchased also plays a significant role for Faxe, as Keld Norup Lauridsen explains: “What’s more, the service support from Krones is very good. What we particularly like is that here in the subsidiary Krones employs Danish-speaking staff from our own country. This makes lots of things a whole lot easier.”

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