Ever since Finn Christiansen learnt to bike he’s been a part of the world of vinegar. His father, Svend Aage Christiansen was in fact brewmaster at De Jydske Eddikefabriker (the Jutlandic Vinegar Factories) in Randers, which today is the last remaining in Denmark. His entire childhood was influenced by his father’s work. Among other things Finn drove the sales wagon around and sold sodas, which back then was part of the production. Years have past and now Finn is production manager at the factory and celebrates his 55-year anniversary.
But he’s not the only one with a few years behind him. The old vinegar-makers, which resemble wooden barrels, from the 1960’s still stand strong producing vinegar the same way they’ve always done. Naturally they’ve now got competition from the new acetators, which like the barrels, transforms alcohol to acid. The new machines were installed in the 1970’s, and it’s clear already when entering the reception that almost nothing else has happened since the 60’s and 70’s where almost everything is a nuance of brown. In the part of the factory where the vinegar is put into bottles, robots have replaced manpower and the acetators from the 70’s are controlled via computer. But when the vinegar is pumped from the barrels and acetators it’s still done by hand.
55 years on Finn Christiansen is well aware that he can’t work here forever. Bente Kjeldsen, who’s the general manager, is slowly taking over. But Finn can’t seem to let go quite yet and a retirement date is far from being on the table.
This story was made while I was an intern at Randers Amtsavis, November 2019.
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