Divers find 500-year-old Danish beer barrels in Swedish wreck

Divers excavating the wreck of a medieval warship off the coast of Sweden have found barrels they believe may hold traces of 500-year-old Danish beer.

Divers find 500-year-old Danish beer barrels in Swedish wreck
The beer barrels had been branded with the letter 'A'. Photo: Brett Seymour
The Gribshunden, or Griffen, the flagship of King John of Denmark, sank in 1495 off the coast of Ronneby, southeastern Sweden, while on the way for talks with Swedish separatist forces int he city of Kalmar. 
“It's what we would expect but I still think it's quite fun because it gives us an insight to the life on board,” Johan Rönnby, an archeologist from Södertörn University outside Stockholm, told The Local. 
“We haven't taken any samples, so we can't 100 percent say that it is beer, but it is most likely that it would be beer on a ship, as water was not that healthy to drink.” 
The suspected beer barrels are marked with the letter 'A' and fitted with two stoppers on the lid, which would have enabled easy pouring. 
Rönnby's colleague Brendan Foley, a researcher from Lund University, said that the team were currently taking samples from the barrels to determine their contents. 
“We're taking sediment samples now and hoping we're going to find DNA evidence of hops,” he said. 
“What we're doing is getting a look at not just what the men on the ship were drinking but what King John was taking to Kalmar to impress Sten Sture the Elder.” 
Sten Sture the Elder had led Swedish separatist forces to victory against royal unionist forces at the Battle of Brunkeberg in 1471, after which he had become effective ruler of Sweden. 
The excavation of the Gribshunden, which is being part-funded by the Lund-based Crafoord Foundation, involves 40 researchers from 10 countries. 
The researchers announced the discovery with a press release on Friday. 

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Denmark’s disappointing summer drains Carlsberg coffers

A cold and wet summer in Denmark was bad business for brewing giant Carlsberg, which sees profits rise when customers can enjoy a beer outside in the sun.

Denmark’s disappointing summer drains Carlsberg coffers
Photo: Thomas Borberg/Polfoto/Ritzau

The company’s results for the third quarter of 2017 – July, August and September – show a one percent fall in turnover to 16.7 billion kroner (2.2 billion euros).

But the company was successful in raising prices on last year.

“In the third quarter, our efforts continued to sell more signature products by delivering a solid development in the price mix.

“Developments in volume sales were, as expected, affected by the ban on selling beer in large plastic bottles in Russia, very comparable figures in Eastern Europe and bad weather in Western Europe,” administrative director Cees t’Hart wrote in a press statement.

Carlsberg’s largest region in terms of turnover, Western Europe, was also its most disappointing, according to the company’s figures.

Turnover in the region dropped by 900 million kroner (120 million euros) to 9.6 billion kroner (1.3 billion euros) in total.

One positive aspect for the company was the success of its specialist brands.

Sales of Tuborg increased by five percent, and the specialist Grimbergen brand saw a seven percent increase.

Sales of craft beers made by the company shot up by 34 percent.

That reflects a cornerstone Carlsberg’s current strategy, with a focus on more expensive specialist beer to offset difficulty in increasing volume of sale.

READ ALSO: Carlsberg crafts profit rise with premium beers