Icelanders are known for being rather quiet, that is until they’ve had a drink or two. Then suddenly they’re at their expressive, hearty, embracing Viking best! Beer is the drink of choice for most of them… But surprisingly, beer was actually illegal in Iceland, all the way up to the year 1989! Now they are making up for lost time – the even have a Beer Day
The history of the Beer Day starts with the history of the Icelandic prohibition.
In 1908 Icelanders voted for a ban on all alcoholic drinks and a total prohibition was in effect from 1915 to 1921
That’s when the Spanish made things difficult. Spain refused to buy Iceland’s main export, fish, if Iceland didn’t buy Spanish wines. Due to these trade-related issues Iceland lifted the ban of spirits.
Strong beer was not included in the allowed substances – since it was cheaper, it was believed that it would lead to more social problems. Also, beer was associated with Denmark and Iceland was fighting to gain independence from Denmark (Iceland got full independence only in 1944).
Hence, it wasn’t seen as a particularly patriotic drink.
Eventually, with a growing opposition to prohibition, Iceland’s Parliament Althingi voted to lift the ban of beer in 1989. And I dare say, the Icelander hasn’t been unhappy since…
Head to Iceland to share the joy and help the Icelanders make up for lost time in beer consumption.
Level 4 – longer blog on website