Although it may sound incredible, it’s absolutely true. Today, beer is the average Icelander’s alcoholic drink of choice: according to recent figures by the WHO, beer accounts for 62% of the alcohol consumed yearly in the country.
However, beer was illegal in Iceland for three-quarters of a century, from 1915 to March 1st, 1989. The interesting (and bizarre) detail is that, during most of these years, Icelanders could legally drink wines and strong spirits. For some reasons – some say because beer was cheap, and was therefore seen as conducive to alcohol abuse; others say it’s because beer was associated with the Danes, and at the time Iceland was struggling to become independent from Denmark – it took until the late 80s for Icelanders to decide that a glass of beer in the sun would be just the thing.
Since 1989, March 1st is celebrated as “Beer day”!
Happy Beer Day!