Jørgen Bernhoft Lysholm 1796-1843

Few, if any, Norwegian brands have had such a widespread familiarity across the world as the name Lysholm. The originator is Jørgen B. Lysholm, from Trondheim, the father of the "Lysholmer" or Lysholm aquavit.
Jørgen B. grew up in a well-established merchant family which was among the leading families in Trondheim in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. His father Nicolay was the statshauptmann [head of the civic town defence] and justisråd [honorary title, originally for the Supreme Court justices], as well as the co-owner of Lysholms Minde, a salt refinery and soap factory located in Ladebukta. His son inherited this interest in chemical-industrial production and studied chemical engineering in Berlin.
When back in Trondheim he took over the operations of Lysholms Minde, and then he founded the firm "de Lysholmske Brenneri- og Destillasjonsfabrikker" [Lysholm's alcohol and distillery plant] in the same location. This type of production had been banned since 1756, allegedly to protect the production of grain in Norway. When new legislation opened for this type of enterprise in 1816, Jørgen B. was one of the first to grasp this opportunity in a serious way. The production of liquor was eventually moved to downtown premises with offices and a sales outlet. Previously this location (Lysholmsgården [the Lysholm house]) housed Astoria hotel, now P-hotel.
Lysholm's products quickly gained world renown for their good quality, and not least for the production and storage methods used. The export of klippfisk [split, salted and dried cod] to Rio and other Latin American markets from Norway allowed Jørgen B. to regularly send his oak barrels with aquavit on the ships for storage. The sailing ships with cod and aquavit barrels passed the equator line, which was said to have an improving effect on the aquavit. This procedure gave birth to the term "line aquavit". The storage method and the name remain in use to this day. Jørgen B. Lysholm died relatively young, on his way home from a stay at a spa in Wiesbaden in 1843, 47 years of age.
Recommended reading: Olaus Schmidt: Jørgen B. Lysholm. Aktietrykkeriet, 1978.

Author: Einar Rædergård