Ask the Scandies: What is Icelandic beer day? Why?

Posted by | Fun stuff

Imagine a world without Carlsberg: Probably the scariest thing in the world to imagine for some people.

That’s just what life was life on Iceland up until 1989. You think that is a long time ago? It’s not: it was the year of the first poll tax, Batman was in the cinemas and the Berlin Wall fell. That’s when Iceland legalised beer.

The Icelandic prohibition started in 1915 and while most of the prohibited stuff was legalised in 1935, beer remained prohibited until 1 March 1989 (since then, known as Beer Day).

So far, so fair. What most don’t know is that the reason the initial part of the ban was lifted in the twenties was because Spain refused to buy the Icelandic fish unless they could sell their wines in Iceland. The reason the Icelandic government only legaliszed spirits in 1935 and not beer was out of the argument that “beer costs than spirits and people will drink more, thus leaving to more depravity”.

Join Iceland on a rúntur (pub crawl) on 1 March.


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