Carlsberg was founded by J. C. Jacobsen; the first brew was finished on 10 November 1847. Export of Carlsberg beer began in 1868; foreign brewing began in 1968 with the opening of a Carlsberg brewery in Blantyre, Malawi. Some of the company’s original logos include an elephant (after which some of its lagers are named) and the swastika. Use of the latter was discontinued in the 1930s because of its association with political parties in neighboring Germany. Carlsberg founder J. C. Jacobsen was a philanthropist and avid art collector. With his fortune he amassed an impressive art collection which is now housed in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in central Copenhagen.
Jacobsen set up the Carlsberg Laboratory in 1875 which worked on scientific problems related to brewing. It featured a Department of Chemistry and a Department of Physiology. The species of yeast used to make pale lager, Saccharomyces carlsbergensis, was isolated at the Laboratory and was named after it. The concept of pH was developed there as well as advances in protein chemistry. The laboratory was part of the Carlsberg Foundation until 1972 when it was renamed the Carlsberg Research Center and transferred to the brewery.
The first overseas licence for brewing was given to the Photos Photiades Breweries, and in 1966 Carlsberg beer was brewed for the first time outside Denmark at the Photiades breweries in Cyprus. The first brewery to be built outside Denmark was in Blantyre, Malawi in 1968.
Carlsberg acquired Tuborg breweries in 1970 and merged with Tetley in 1992.
In November 2014, Carlsberg agreed to take over Greece’s third largest brewery, the Olympic Brewery, adding to its operations in the country already and effectively transforming the firm into the second biggest market player in Greece.