Lonely Planet Writer

A century on from prohibition, Iceland celebrates beer day

A popular Icelandic beer.
A popular Icelandic beer. Image by James Brooks / CC BY 2.0

Iceland is celebrating the anniversary of beer becoming legal. Alcohol was banned in 1915 after a referendum, and while wine and spirits were made legal again in subsequent decades, full-strength beer remained off-limits until 1 March 1989. 1989’s Bjordagur (Beer Day) saw wild scenes, although celebrations now are lower key. Iceland has numerous bars, but only 49 shops around the country are licensed to sell alcohol stronger than 2.25%. Prohibition’s long legacy in Iceland is due to both health concerns and – perhaps more surprisingly – patriotism. Read more: bbc.co.uk