A Man of Many Talents
Today is the anniversary of the death of the botanist Emil Christian Hansen, who died on this day in 1909.
Prior to Hansen, brewing was a volatile experiment, and batches could easily get infected with disease. Hansen forever changed the brewing industry with his discovery of a way to separate pure yeast cells from wild yeast cells.
Hansen's method was created while he was working for the Carlsberg Laboratory. But, Carlsberg Labs did not patent the process. Instead, they decided to publish it; sharing all the details with brewers around the world
Hansen named the yeast after the lab – Saccharomyces Carlsbergensis – and samples of Carlsberg No. 1 (as it was called) were sent to breweries around the world by request and free of charge. Within five years, most European breweries were using Carlsberg No. 1. By 1892, American breweries, Pabst, Schlitz, and Anheuser-Busch, were manufacturing their beers with pure yeast strains.
Emil Hansen was a renaissance man. In addition to his work in botany, he attempted careers, an actor, a portrait artist, a teacher, an author (he wrote under a pseudonym). And it was Emil Hansen who made the first Danish translation of Charles Darwin’s Voyage of The Beagle.