Celebrating Beer Day in Iceland: A Toast to Freedom

people toasting beer day in reykjavik iceland.
Make a toast to Beer Day at a local bar in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Beer day in Iceland is a special celebration held annually on March 1st each year. While it may sound like an adoption of a foreign holiday, the Beer Day in Iceland is in fact a very special and unique Icelandic tradition with its own interesting history.


What is Beer Day in Iceland?

So why is Beer Day celebrated in Iceland? Beer Day in Iceland celebrates the end of a very long 74 year beer ban in Iceland. That’s right, beer was banned in Iceland for most of the 20th century, or from 1915 until 1989 when it was finally lifted.  

Strangely enough other alcohol such as spirits and wine were not illegal in Iceland during this time, apart from a short prohibition period where all alcohol was banned. When prohibition ended beer remained banned as officials in Iceland were afraid allowing beer would increase drinking and cause social problems. Leaving Iceland the only country in Europe, perhaps the world with a special beer ban.

Gradually, this attitude changed over time with a growing recognition of beer’s place in culture. So on March 1st 1989 the beer ban in Iceland was finally lifted and ever since it has been celebrated as Beer Day in Iceland.


icelandic beer on draft
Celebrate Beer Day with a local Icelandic beer on draft.

Where can I celebrate Beer Day in Iceland?

The Beer Day in Iceland is celebrated at bars all over the country on March 1st. Many offer special Beer Day prices on beer, sometimes offering the same price as it was when it was first allowed back in 1989.

The best place to experience the Beer Day festival in Iceland is downtown Reykjavik. At places such as Laugavegur shopping street and Austurvöllur plaza in center Reykjavik are many local bars where you can join this unique celebration and have a drink with the local Icelanders.


Rich Icelandic Beers Culture

Despite the long ban on beer, Iceland has a rich and flourishing beer culture. Icelandic beer is considered very good and is enjoyed by both locals and those visiting Iceland. This is part thanks to Iceland’s pure water, which is among the best in the world. The most popular beers in Iceland are local beers such as Víking and Egils Gull.

In recent years Iceland has also caught up in the global trend of micro-breweries. Today you can find a great selection of local craft beer brands from all parts of Iceland. Offering everything from lager beer to IPA and stout, from brands such as Kaldi, Einstök and Gæðingur.

viking beer iceland beer day celebration.
In just a few years beer is now part of Iceland's culture.

In Conclusion

Celebrating Beer Day in Iceland is a fun way to mix in with the locals and take part in something authentic from the land of Ice and Fire. Beer Day is a big part of Iceland’s culture and history and is proudly celebrated every year.

So, if you’re looking for something truly Icelandic to do, going to a bar in Reykjavik on Beer Day should fit right in. It is a fantastic opportunity to socialize and try out some of Iceland’s finest beverages. It's all about having a good time and if you like beer, having a special day dedicated makes it even better.

For all beer lovers out there and happy Beer Day!

If you like to learn more about local celebrations in Iceland, feel free to read our blogs about Icelandic Culture and Practical Info.






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