"There was no dialog over the issue at all," Dennis Onsvig, a union representative at the Copenhagen facility, told The Copenhagen Post, "and that's just not good enough."
Company spokesman Jens Bekke said employees started to walk out soon after Carlsberg -- the world's fourth largest brewer -- announced that warehouse staff could only neck one beer at lunch. Previously workers had been allowed to sip three bottles, conveniently stashed in coolers dotted around the complex, throughout the day. "There has been free beer, water and soft drinks everywhere," he told Reuters. "Yesterday, beers were removed from all refrigerators. The only place you can get a beer in [the] future is in the canteen, at lunch."
Carlsberg's truck drivers also joined in the protest, even though they're still entitled to three brews a shift. Management had previously tried and failed to take away the truckers' allowance. Instead, they fitted alcohol locks to all company trucks, so a vehicle won't start if a driver's blood-alcohol level is over the legal limit.
Claus Hyldahl, head of health at Danish medical clinic Lægernes Testcenter, told the Copenhagen Post that it was "amazing" that anyone would still be allowed to drink at work in 2010. "Some employees may think they're not affected by three beers," he said. "But for most people there's a significant difference between their second and third drinks. And if you're not affected after three drinks, then you have a serious alcohol problem."
Still, if Carlsberg workers want to be allowed to glug on the job, they might consider moving south and joining the German army. Each German soldier is allowed a liter of beer a day (about a fifth of a gallon), and in 2008, the 3,600 German troops stationed in Afghanistan quaffed a hefty 220,000 gallons of beer, and more than 15,000 gallons of wine. But for all that, they're at war in Afghanistan, which might make a beer at lunch in Copenhagen seem good enough after all.