Symbolic funeral procession commemorates closing of Pori Brewery
Tank truck takes final beer consignment from Pori to Kerava for bottling
On Thursday a small group of disconsolate mourners laid to rest the Pori Brewery and its famous Karhu (“Bear”) beer.
The brewery's amber product was seen to its “final resting place” in a symbolic zinc coffin carried in a funeral procession that started its journey through the Pori city centre from the brewery gates.
The procession finally arrived at the Guildhall Park’s bear statue, where the last eulogies were presented in honour of the 156-year-old brewery and the Pori Bear.
The last beer consignment left the brewery late on Thursday night in a tank truck, to be bottled and canned in Sinebrychoff’s Kerava brewery.
The Pori Brewery’s convoy of mourners was not extensive.
No workers from the factory were involved, “because they all had been bought out in different ways”, the pallbearers regretted.
The heavy American-style zinc coffin was carried by only four people dressed in black. A priest with his white bands was also seen in the entourage. A bit later the procession’s strength increased to six.
The ends and the sides of the coffin had been decorated with the Karhu-beer logo depicting the head of a rather gruff-looking bear.
Attracting a considerable amount of attention from the onlookers, the funeral procession’s strength reached 12 individuals at its greatest.
“I wonder what’s in the coffin, as it looks so heavy”, one onlooker asked.
“Beer”, his friend said knowingly.
Outside the City Pub a couple of pale-looking individuals staggered with their morning beers.
The sight of the coffin caused one of them to steel himself and to salute the procession with a stunned look on his face.
The priest of the convoy turned out to be a real pastor. He was chaplain Pekka Aalto of the Central Pori Parish.
“I worry about so many people losing their jobs”, explained Aalto, who said he had been actively involved in the movement to save the brewery.
The main eulogy was given by another brewery movement activist Aki Nummelin, who happens to be the deputy chairman of the Pori City Council.
“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”, Nummelin said, referring to the Danish Carlsberg Group, which owns the Finnish brewers Sinebrychoff.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Carlsberg and Heineken aspire to purchase S&N, owner of Finnish brewers Hartwall (18.10.2007)
Carlsberg Press Release from March 2009