Reinventing himself as a beer brewer at the age of 62 had never occurred to Poul Erik Vestergrd, a Danish mink farmer. But the country’s controversial cull of its mink population in 2020 over COVID-19 fears forced Vestergrd to swap careers.
Alongside his son, Martin, and a childhood friend, Thomas, Poul Erik started brewing beer in his kitchen. Despite the ban on mink farming being lifted next year, he has no intention of returning to the trade.
“I’ve never imagined doing this,” he said.
“They had this hobby, and they were close to taking it to the next level. It’s going to be exciting: a new chapter!”
The transformation has been helped in part by a nationwide reconversion project for former mink farmers put out of business by the cull.
“Mink farmers are a very entrepreneurial group” Bent Mikkelsen, the reconversion project’s manager, said.
“Today, virtually no one who was a mink farmer does not have a job of some kind or has set up another business.”
Mink farming will resume in Denmark in January.
Prior to the mass culling in 2020, Denmark was the biggest mink producer in the world, with an export value of €500 million.
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