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The Traveller's Magazine
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Well, it’s Beer Day in Iceland at least! After a 75 year prohibition, Iceland celebrates March 1st every year by drinking beer, commemorating the end of the prohibition in 1989. Bottoms up Iceland, may your March 1st always we wild and may the beer kegs always be full.

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A little history lesson

The alcohol prohibition started in Iceland in 1915 and lasted more or less until March 1st in 1989. Why more or less? Because sometimes rules need to be broken for the sake of the country. In 1921, Spain refused to buy Icelandic fish (the country’s main export) unless it bought Spanish wine in return. What is a country supposed to do? The ban was partially lifted again after spirits were legalized. Thanks to more and more international travel, beer was introduced into Icelandic society once again and the prohibition came to an official end on March 1st, celebrated since then as Beer Day.

Can you believe it that the prohibition was brought on by a public referendum? Imagine that happened nowadays!

Beer Festival

How to celebrate

Today beer is widely consumed and Iceland even boasts its own beer culture thanks to (or not?) the limit on imported beer. Iceland is a great place to taste craft beers from microbreweries, or even brewed in the home of a local. Icelanders celebrate Beer Day, of course, by enjoying the freedom to drink beer and drink a lot of it. Many take part in pub crawls, called a rúntur since bars and clubs stay open until 4am.

What to drink?

Want to drink in Icelandic style? Pour yourself a pint of either Egils, Thule and Viking, all locally brewed in Iceland the next time you’re on holidays in Reykjavik.

Have you seen James Appleton’s photos of Iceland yet?

Imgs: marc falardeau  / Flickr cc. and knutalbert.wordpress.com

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