Food & Drink Nov 05, 2019

A Look Into Icelandic Breweries 30 Years After Prohibition

Learn more about Iceland’s beer scene with Icelandair’s brewery tour and try some for yourself!

2019 marks 30 years since the Icelandic beer ban ended in 1989. Since the end of prohibition in Iceland, almost 30 beer breweries have opened up all over the country. Once absent from Icelandic culture, beer is gaining popularity as a new cultural staple. Luckily for beer-loving travelers, Icelandair mapped out the top breweries all over the country. Icelandair travellers flying from North America to Europe can even add a stop in Iceland at no additional charge with its stopover service, so you can get the chance to visit an Icelandic brewery for yourself. Keep reading to learn more about Iceland’s history with beer!

A Brief History of Iceland and Alcohol

Icelandic prohibition began in 1915, when 60% voted in favor of all alcohol being outlawed. This full prohibition lasted until 1922, when Spain and Portugal threatened to stop purchasing cod, the most profitable Icelandic export of the time, unless Iceland agreed to import their wines. Wine was made legal, and Iceland began importing it. Liquor was legalized shortly after, but beer remained illegal until March 1st, 1989.

Iceland’s Beer Scene Today

Today, there are nearly 30 breweries scattered across the country. Many of them are very creative, incorporating unusual ingredients like skyr, and fun flavors like lime peel and pineapple. These local breweries boast originality, and some are even located in repurposed buildings, such as restored old factories and dairy farms. Check out Icelandair’s full Icelandic brewery tour and recommendations below.

  1. KEX Brewing 
  2. RVK Brewing Company
  3. Brugghús Steðja 
  4. Dokkan Brugghús 
  5. Segull 67
  6. Bruggsmiðjan Kaldi Brewery
  7. Húsavík Öl 
  8. Beljandi Brugghús
  9. Smiðjan Brugghús
  10. The Brothers Brewery 
  11. Ölvisholt Brewery
  12. Ölverk Pizza and Brewery

Icelandic Beer Festival

Each year, KEX Brewing in Reykjavik hosts the Icelandic Beer Festival, with 2020 marking its ninth year. The festival features craft beers from Iceland and around the world and aims to promote craft brewing and inspire interest in Icelandic beer. At the festival, attendees can try different beers and even meet the brewers behind them! More information on the 2020 Icelandic Beer Festival is available here.

Have you ever tried an Icelandic beer? Would you love to visit an Icelandic brewery? Visit Icelandair to plan a trip to Iceland’s breweries and let us know in the comments below or on Twitter what your favorite beer is!