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Historic Beer Birthday: Amund Ringnes

Today is the birthday of Amund Ringnes (October 7, 1840-January 13, 1907). He was a Norwegian businessman, brewery owner and patron. Along with his brother Ellef Ringnes (administrator and salesman) and business partner Axel Heiberg (who provided financing), he co-founded the Ringnes brewery in 1876. Amund was the brewer and the Ringnes remained family-owned until 1978. Today it is part of the Carlsberg Group, and remains the largest brewery in Norway.

This biography of Ringnes is from his Wikipedia page:

He was born in Krødsherad, Buskerud, the son of Anders Knudsen Ringnes (1813–75), farmer, and his wife Maren Amundsdatter (1815–76). He grew up at the Ringnes farm, and commenced working at Akers Mekaniske Verksted in 1860. He left Akers Mek. Verksted in 1865, and was employed by the brewery Christiania Bryggeri. In 1876, he founded Ringnes & Compani brewery with his brother Ellef Ringnes and the businessman Axel Heiberg. It was the eighth brewery in Christiania (now Oslo), and later had its name changed to Ringnes Bryggeri.

The Ringnes brewery became successful, and Amund Ringnes and his brother became benefactors in Christiania. They invested in the construction of the Holmenkollen Line and sanatoriums in the Holmenkollen area. They also sponsored Fridtjof Nansen’s Fram expedition, which they at one point led together with businessman Axel Heiberg and shipowner Thomas Fearnley. The explorer Otto Sverdrup’s 1898–1902 Fram expedition also received financial support from the two brothers; he named two discovered islands after them: Amund Ringnes Island and Ellef Ringnes Island.

On 19 September 1870, Ringnes married Laura Jensen (1850–1902). In 1896, his brother Ellef bought the Ringnes farm from him, which he earlier had inherited from his father. He said to his brother: “Ellef, you have 14 children, and I have only six, so it is most correct that you own the farm”. Amund Ringnes was decorated as a Knight, First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1898. He was upgraded to Commander, Second Class in 1902. In 1899, he built the country house Ringartun in Buskerud, where he maintained a hospitable home. He died on 13 January 1907 in Kristiania, aged 66.

This short biography is translated using Google Translate from the brewery website:

Amund Ringnes was born on October 7, 1840, at Ringnes Gård in Krødsherad. When he was 14 years old his father had to sell the farm and the family moved to relatives in Drammen, where Amund and Ellef completed primary school. 

Amund was interested in mechanics and innovations that came in the wake of the industrial revolution, and in 1860 got an apprenticeship at Aker’s Mechanical Workshop. In 1865, the journey continued to Christiania Brewery where he started as a brewer apprentice and went on to graduate before ending up as a brewer. 

Brygger Amund was known as trustworthy, popular and spacious in relation to his employees. He was down to earth, hardworking, quality conscious, curious, innovative, generous and fond of hunting and fishing.
The days at the brewery could be long, so he built a villa in Biermannsgate for himself and his family.  There he lived with his wife Laura.  In 1896, the brothers bought back the family farm. According to tradition, the elder, the breeding boy Amund, should own the farm. But in all fraternity, the humble and unassuming Amund Ringnes must have said to his younger brother: “You, Ellef, have 14 children, while I have only 6, so it is best that you get the farm.” And so it went. On the farm, they often hosted prominent guests, and Amund used to put bookcases in rivers along the itinerary, so guests would have some strength during the trip.

And here’s a short history of the brewery, from the tourism site, Go Norway:

Ringnes is Norway´s largest brewery company with approximately 1,200 employees. The company is owned by “Carlsberg Group”, the world´s fourth largest brewery group. We deliver beer, soda and water to the entire Norwegian beverage market and we are proud of our many strong brands!

Ringnes brewery was established in 1876 by brothers Amund Ringnes and Ellef, who came from Ringnes Gard. Amund was brewer, Ellef administrator and salesman, and Axel Heiberg was the financier behind now. 28 November 1877 could Amund Ringnes put the first brewed, thus starting what has now been 130 years of brewing history. Ringnes-brothers stood centrally among those who did Fridtjof Nansen and Otto Sverdrup “Fram” – Finished possible. A lasting memory of this is the three islands in the northernmost Canada (west of Greenland), as Sverdrup named after the brewery´s founders, Axel Heiberg Island, Amund Ringnes Island and Ellef Ringnes Island.

Ellef Ringnes, Amund Ringnes and Axel Heiberg.
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