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GitHub Enterprise

Carlsberg unifies development on GitHub Enterprise and accelerates innovation with Copilot.

  • 600 secrets detected in Source Code with GitHub Secret Scanning
  • 30,000+ security vulnerabilities removed since activating GitHub Advanced Security
  • 6 tools reduced to a single platform for software development with GitHub Enterprise
Number of Seats
Copenhagen, Denmark
Food & Beverage

Carlsberg’s development processes were impeded by a lack of unified tooling and forced context-switching, alongside potential security threats due to undetected secrets within their source code.


Carlsberg unified its development process and bolstered its security using GitHub Advanced Security, while the integration of Copilot enabled efficient coding practices and minimized the need for context-switching.


When asked to describe Carlsberg's business, Peter Birkholm-Buch, the company’s Head of Software Engineering, didn't miss a beat: "Well, we make beer." The simplicity of his statement, which did get a few laughs, carries an elegance that mirrors the Danish brewery's no-nonsense demeanor. True enough, the Carlsberg Group brews beer—under an array of brands in myriad worldwide locations, including Tetley's in the UK and Kronenbourg in France. But while the process of brewing beer may appear simple, Carlsberg's dedication to advanced scientific research via the Carlsberg Research Laboratory has led to notable breakthroughs. These include the isolation of the first pure brewing yeast, the development of the pH scale, and the creation of drought-resistant crops to adapt to a shifting climate.

Modern technology and process automation have allowed Carlsberg to boost its product development, streamline its manufacturing capabilities, and extend distribution to 150 countries across the globe. But this commitment to modern technology hadn't been fully incorporated into the company’s software development until recently. 

Carlsberg beer and bottle

The first order of business in Carlsberg’s digital transformation strategy was unifying its developer organization around an integrated platform, empowering its developers to move rapidly and spend less time on process management. “When I came onboard we were dealing with a heterogeneous development landscape, where everyone had to be a DevOps engineer to get anything built or published,” says Birkholm-Buch. Centralizing on GitHub Enterprise removed this burden and reduced their toolchain from 6 tools to a single platform, which allowed the company’s engineers to focus on the task at hand. "We’ve transitioned to a platform engineering state with a central team that eliminates friction for our developers. Everything from standing up infrastructure on Azure to managing code—it all lives on GitHub.”

The implementation of GitHub Enterprise was a pivotal move, laying the foundational framework, and enabling advanced tools like GitHub Copilot to be integrated effectively, enhancing the synergy in Carlsberg’s developmental workflow. GitHub Copilot seamlessly integrates within the development process, providing valuable coding suggestions directly from the IDE, further removing development roadblocks. Both Birkholm-Buch and Cerqueira reported that Copilot significantly enhanced productivity across the team. The enthusiasm for the AI coding assistant was so unanimous that as soon as enterprise access was available, Carlsberg immediately onboarded the tool. "Everyone immediately enabled it, the reaction was overwhelmingly positive," shares Birkholm-Buch. It’s now challenging to find a developer who wouldn't prefer to work with Copilot, he says. 

Birkholm-Buch also noted that Copilot has proven to be a valuable learning tool, facilitating developers in getting started with languages they are less familiar with. “I experienced my Eureka moment with GitHub Copilot when I realized it significantly reduces the learning curve required to become an efficient cloud developer. It’s much easier for developers to jump onto new languages and platforms, because GitHub Copilot will hold your hand and guide you,” Birkholm-Buch expresses.

Cans of Carlsberg beer on a shelf

To further enhance developer efficiency and strengthen security, Carlsberg adopted GitHub Advanced Security (GHAS). The impact was immediately evident as Secret Scanning revealed around 600 unknown secrets within their source code stored in private repositories, symptomatic of the convoluted tech stack that was previously implemented. "Secrets in source code are often a sign of forced context-switching, leading developers to quick fixes such as embedding passwords in code," says Birkholm-Buch. Carlsberg's move to centralize its development on GitHub addressed this problem on several fronts. Not only did it mitigate the need for context switching—since developers could manage the entire process on a single platform—but it also fortified their security measures. With GitHub's Secret Scanning, they ensured a clean, vulnerability-free codebase, while the Push Protection feature actively prevented the introduction of new secrets. 

To further streamline their development and security processes, Carlsberg implemented auto-merging of pull requests in most repositories and automated security workflows within CI to conduct comprehensive security checks against container images and code. This integration of Actions and GHAS has greatly enhanced collaboration between developers and the security team, facilitating increased awareness of potential security threats on both sides.

The benefits were immediate and tangible: after a dedicated push to eliminate secrets in code repositories, Carlsberg now proudly reports having zero known secrets within their code repositories in Software Engineering.

Cans of Somesby on a shelf

Carlsberg didn't stop at fortifying their security; they revolutionized their entire workflow using GitHub Actions. The company streamlined its previously disjointed Jenkins CI/CD pipelines into a single, flexible system. This harmonization meant all teams could now leverage the same pipeline irrespective of their tech stack or deployment targets, and with minimal configuration. Once a pull request receives approval, the newly automated process streamlines testing and infrastructure updates, facilitating expedited deployment and allowing Carlsberg to adopt a microservices approach to deployment, thereby enhancing product agility.

This transition not only increased efficiency, but also democratized contribution to these pipelines and workflows. Unlike their previous system, where only a select few engineers understood the intricacies, GitHub Actions has paved the way for broader participation. Team members can now directly access the repositories, make necessary changes, and contribute to system improvements. "We now see other teams contributing to these pipelines and workflows," João Cerqueira, one of Carlsberg’s engineers. “That never would have happened before.”  This shift has fostered a culture of innersourcing, where collaboration and cross-team contributions are not just encouraged, but expected. The result is a more efficient future for Carlsberg.

Carlsberg has transformed its development environment by leveraging GitHub's platform, which offers a seamless experience that accelerates innovation while ensuring security. Carlsberg leveraged GHAS to minimize context-switching for security checks. They used GitHub Actions to simplify their CI/CD pipelines, allowing developers to concentrate on coding instead of managing separate systems. Additionally, GitHub Copilot accelerated development, giving Carlsberg's developers more time to tackle complex problems. GitHub’s platform has revolutionized Carlsberg's development environment. "GitHub helps us eliminate context switching and keeps developers in the zone,” says Birkholm-Buch. “That translates into developers being more efficient and writing code faster."

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