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A new experience center, Õllemaailm, was opened in Tartu

25. April 2022

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On Friday, the grand opening of Õllemaailm took place in the historic malt drying tower of the A. Le Coq brewery in Tartu. The new center is both a museum and an experience center, showcasing the 12,000-year history of beer culture. The opening ceremony featured speeches by the Mayor of Tartu, Urmas Klaas, and Tarmo Noop, the long-standing CEO of A. Le Coq. Entertaining beer culture stories were shared on stage by Märt Treier and Mart Juur and Tanel Padar performed for the guests. The event also celebrated the 215th anniversary of A. Le Coq and presented a special Le Coq whiskey.

The museum, located in the Tartu malt tower, has now grown into a significantly larger and interactive experience center. It offers a comprehensive presentation of beer culture through nearly twenty-five exhibits, most of which are interactive. The centerpiece of the experience center is one of the world’s oldest preserved beers. In the dedicated space honoring esteemed beers, a bottle that survived a shipwreck more than 150 years ago and was sent from London to the Russian Empire in 1869 is prominently displayed. The bottle went through an incredible journey before finding its place in Õllemaailm.

Tarmo Noop, the CEO of A. Le Coq, emphasized the company’s important role in promoting beer culture as Estonia’s oldest brewery. “The Beer Museum tells the story of this honorable beverage, from home brewing to modern beer production, offering visitors an engaging and immersive experience,” described Noop. The heart of Õllemaailm is the historic Tartu malt tower, one of Europe’s most unique and well-preserved buildings, serving as both a landmark and a monument to beer’s industrial production,” Noop added. The museum also showcases A. Le Coq’s dignified history spanning over 200 years, from Belgium to London and from London to Tartu. The captivating narrative provides visitors with an overview of A. Le Coq’s transformative years, ups and downs, and the company’s development into a modern beverage industry.

On the company’s 215th anniversary, the first-ever A. Le Coq whiskey was presented, made from the strong alcohol remaining after the production of non-alcoholic beer, primarily using single malt barley. Aged for five years in oak barrels, the whiskey has a golden brown color and a smooth taste. The initial batch of Le Coq whiskey was produced in only 1000 liters and is exclusively available at Õllemaailm and A. Le Coq’s flagship store. The next batch will be ready in two years.

In the new experience center’s time tunnel, the 12,000-year history of beer culture unfolds. Visitors can listen to ancient Sumerian beer hymns, guess peculiar ingredients used in ancient beer, ponder over the benefits of beer, and explore old beer packaging. Rare antique production equipment, which has been part of the brewery since its early days, is also on display. All the ingredients of the beverage can be tasted, smelled, and observed, and visitors can witness the entire brewing process from start to finish.

To learn more about the story of Õllemaailm and plan your visit, please visit ollemaailm.alecoq.ee and check out the extensive opening gallery.

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