J-dag: The snow beer falls tonight

As Danes around the country prepare to consume the first Christmas beers of the year, the police are bracing for another night of mayhem

There are few countries in the world that celebrate the release of a beer the way Denmark celebrates the annual release of Tuborg's Julebryg seasonal Christmas beer. Brace yourself: today is J-dag.

Tonight at 20:59, Tuborg trucks will descend upon thousands of pubs throughout the country loaded with scantily-clad young ladies ready to hand out free Julebryg Christmas beers.

“It’s one of the best nights of the year. Thousands of people are out on the town, everyone is happy, eagerly anticipating that moment when the truck pulls in and the first cold beer is opened,” Alex Hannibalsen, a graphic designer, told The Copenhagen Post. “It's become a tradition and I love it.”

A bit of history
Adopting its name from the Second World War's D-Day, J-Dag was established by Tuborg back in 1990 in connection with the release of its Christmas beer, which occurred on the second Wednesday in November at 23:59.

In 1999, J-Dag was moved to the first Friday in November at 20:59, a move that was primarily agreed upon because there was a lot of trouble with young people not showing up for class the following day.

In 2009, it was moved to the last Friday in October, before moving back to the first Friday in November once again in 2010.

It was better before
But not everyone is happy that J-dag has been assigned to the first Friday in November.

Duane Hobson, a student and avid J-dag connoisseur, argues that it had more character before it was assigned to the first Friday in November.

“It used too be more fun before when it was during the week. The whole of Denmark was out there and no one showed up for work the next day,” Hobson told The Copenhagen Post. "Now it’s a lot of drunken idiots beating on each other."

Despite his misgivings, Hobson intends to hit the town tonight and indulge in the first golden Christmas droplets of the year.

A marketing success
The Tuborg Julebryg is the fourth-highest selling beer in Denmark and has been brewed since 1981, when Tuborg first produced the beer for a limited release six weeks before Christmas.  

Tuborg’s legendary Jule Øl commercial (see it below), depicting Santa forgoing his gift-giving activities to desperately pursue a Tuborg truck, is also one of the longest-running commercials in Denmark, appearing every year on TVs and in the cinemas.

Nicolai Jørgensgaard Graakjær, a professor of communication and psychology at Aalborg University, said that it was no surprise that the commercial from 1984 is such a success.

”It is the ideal recipe of what a commercial should be: It’s simple, funny and the music plays an integral role,” Graakjær told Videnskab.dk. “The music’s tempo rises and falls in alignment with the reindeers’ movements and it tells the whole story without using words. Even though it’s incredible trivial, it’s very powerful.”

Busy day for the police
But while the nation's beer drinkers boisterously celebrate the commencement of the Christmas season in a way that would make their Viking predecessors proud, the day isn’t all that great for the police.

Last year, the free-beer mayhem resulted in a busy weekend for police and other emergency workers and extra cops were called in across the country, while others worked overtime.

Scores of people were arrested for fighting, destruction of property and public urination, while drink driving numbers also soared. Police will once again be out in force, warning that they too are able to read a calendar.

“When you plan this year’s J-Dag, try to remember that we are also aware of the date,” the police tweeted Jutland. "So plan how to avoid drink driving."

The police in Copenhagen are also planning to set up extensive sobriety check points around the city.