Funeral for famous Finnish brewery

karhuLast week saw a small crowd hold a funeral procession to commemorate the closure of the famous Pori Brewery. The last rites were administered to a beer-filled coffin as a delivery truck, which was laden with Finland’s favourite beer, Karhu left the site for the last time.

Mourners gathered outside the Pori gates and carried a symbolic coffin decorated with the Pori Bear logo through the city streets to its final resting place outside another bear statue in Guildhall Park. Unfortunately the numbers in attendance were minimal, leaving just four pallbearers, whose number grew to six somewhere en route; and a white robed priest. The pallbearers claimed that factory workers from the brewery had all been bought out, which was why none were in attendance. Dressed in black, the pallbearers carried the heavy coffin which was fittingly filled with amber ale. The last consignment of beer was dispatched from the brewery later that day, ahead of bottling at the Sinebrychoff Kerava brewery, as reported in Helsingin Sanomat.

The procession drew a small crowd including two bleary-eyed locals outside one city pub. The men seemed unaware of the significance of the occasion although one did straighten up and salute the coffin as it passed.

Pekka Aalto, the convoy priest, is in fact a chaplain of the Central Pori Parish. Mr. Aalto had been a strong supporter of the movement to save Pori and explained that: “I worry about so many people losing their jobs”. Deputy Chairman of the Pori City Council Aki Nummelin gave the main eulogy stating: “Through the brewery’s fate, global capitalism has now driven its claws into the city of Pori, too. The brewery’s international owners just want to pile profit on top of profit,” a reference to the Danish giant Carlsberg, the group which runs Sinebrychoff.

In recent months the future of the brewery had come under considerable speculation, as owners Carlsberg looked to maximise the output from the Sinebrychoff site, leading local unions to start movements to save the Pori Brewery. Ultimately, Kerava will be the main production centre and all 31 Pori employees have been offered their jobs there.