LONDON — Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and his childhood idol, Rick Astley met each other a few years ago when they collaborated to brew the beer ‘Astley’s Northern Hop Lager.’ Out of their friendship, the idea of opening a bar together in London grew.
This idea will come to life when Rick Astley and Mikkel Borg Bjergsø open the doors to Mikkeller Bar London on October 19th. Mikkeller has had London on the radar for several years, but has been waiting for the the perfect facility and the right partner.
“We have finally found a fantastic location in the Shoreditch district that suits us perfectly. Meanwhile, we have been fortunate to get to know Rick Astley and his wife Lene Bausager Astley, so now we have also found the perfect partners”, says CEO and founder of Mikkeller, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø.
“Of course, we always prefer to work together with people who have a driving force and heart. It’s a huge plus if we also have a personal relationship with them”, he says.
In addition to the interest in beer, Astley and Bjergsø share the same vision of creating something new in London. The star, who has lived in London for over 30 years, is looking forward to opening the doors to a place that will stand out among the city’s many beer places.
“I met Mikkel back in 2015 – through his enthusiasm and passion for real quality, I have fallen back in love with beer. London is a great city but it needs a Mikkeller bar and it is really exciting to be part of creating Mikkeller’s first bar in the UK with Mikkel and his fantastic team. I know we are going to have a lot of fun and drink some great beer!” says Rick Astley.
The bar will also stand out from other beer bars and pubs in London in regard to the design. The task has been taken by the Danish design bureau Femmes Régionales. Their design team has already designed a number of Mikkellers bars.
“Mikkeller’s Scandinavian DNA will be the epicenter for the overall look. With the combination of high-quality materials and inviting color combinations, we will make the bar homely and at the same time show the dedication to the good craftsmanship that permeates the entire Mikkeller profile”, explains designer Mie Albæk Nielsen.
The partnership with the legendary musician has been taken into account by the agency by merging discreet references to Astley’s early pop magic into the design.
“We were inspired by the mood of one of his 80’s videos, which we think has a unique sweetness and romance while having a kind of ‘Italian bohemian bistro atmosphere’. More concretely, we use his lyrics in small details, and Mikkeller’s Art Director Keith Shore makes an illustration of Astley, combined with Mikkeller’s visual identity in a neon sign”, the designer says.
Started with a rumor
The acquaintance between Bjergsø and Astley started a few years ago with a rumor that Rick Astley lived on Amager, in Copenhagen. The brewery owner, who as a child, had fan posters of Astley hanging on the wall and hits like ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ on repeat in the walkman, got the idea to brew a beer with Astley.
It turned out later that Rick Astley lived in London and that, in spite of being married to a Dane, he had never lived in Amager. Through the musician’s wife, who is also Astley’s manager, Bjergsø got in contact with Astley, who said yes to the offer to brew a beer with Mikkeller.
This resulted in a joint trip to the Belgian brewery De Proefbrouwerij where they brewed the beer ‘Astley’s Northern Hop Lager’ together – a red lager with a touch of ginger, as a reference to Astley’s reddish hair.
The opening of Mikkeller Bar London will be celebrated with a special opening event. The duo also plans to brew a new beer together, which is to be launched at the opening.
About Rick Astley
In a career spanning over 30 years, Rick Astley has sold over 40 million records worldwide. His remarkable 2016 comeback album ’50’ sold over 300,000 copies in the UK alone, and is now followed by brand new album ‘Beautiful Life’, on which Rick wrote, produced and played every song.
Mikkeller is first and foremost beer – a Danish microbrewery showcasing all possible styles and ingredients; a world of hops, malt, barrel aging, spontaneous fermentation, licorice, coffee, passion fruit, cherries, chili, cocoa etc., exporting to over 50 countries across the world. Mikkeller also runs a beer festival, restaurants, and a worldwide running club and have established itself as one of the most innovative and cutting edge breweries in the world.