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1st March 2019

Discover unique fresh tastes from the beer capital of the Arctic with Icelandair

Icelandair excite taste buds at 35,000 feet with new onboard pale ale

Icelandair uncovers the very best in Icelandic beer experiences and traditions to mark the 30th anniversary of National Beer Day

Transatlantic airline, Icelandair celebrates the 30th anniversary of National Beer Day in Iceland, by sharing  the Nordic nation’s top brews and beer experiences for travellers to enjoy. Staff with a passion for beer, along with those who have a background in brewing Icelandic beers, are the perfect insiders to share local knowledge of the 30 years of Icelandic beer heritage.

A nationwide referendum in 1908 saw a ban on all alcoholic drinks, which came into effect on January 1st 1915. Within a decade red wine had been legalised, followed by spirits in the 1930s. But beer remained illegal: the ban stemmed from a social perception by Icelanders that beer was a particularly tempting beverage for adolescents, who could be susceptible to drinking in heavy quantities. However, travel become much easier in the 1970s and Icelanders were enjoying beer abroad, and this resulted in a growing demand in the 1980s for the ban on beer to be overturned. On 1st March 1989 the upper chamber of Iceland’s government voted to permit the sale of beer, ending 74 years of prohibition.

Iceland has since begun making its own waves in the art of brewing craft beers.

There’s also been a huge rise of microbreweries across the country crafting and championing new Icelandic ales. To celebrate the historic anniversary, airline Icelandair has sought to provide travellers with a guide to Iceland’s brewing landscape through top tips from its own employees, ranging from best-loved beers to unique Icelandic beer experiences:

Sample beer from a geothermal brewery

“Iceland has some great breweries but there is one that solely relies on the energy produced by the geothermal process. Drive to Reykjadalur and hike up to the hot springs with a couple of good beers and take a bath in the warm water, enjoying a cold beer amongst the breathtaking scenery. Afterwards, visit Ölverk in Hveragerði, and enjoy the samples of some great beers from their geothermal brewery and fine premium wood-fired pizzas.” Ásgeir Einarsson: Digital Business Development, Icelandair (Ásgeir also brews his own beer at home)

Enjoy seasonal beverages crafted by an Icelander

“When visiting Iceland, you have to experience two beers that are at opposite ends of the scale but offer the taste buds so much. One is a summer brew from Einstök called Arctic Berry Ale with aðalbláber (bilberries) that’s incredibly refreshing and best served after or during a beach volleyball match with your friends in the midnight sun. The other is for the colder days of Christmas and comes from Bruggsmiðjan Kaldi. It’s simply called Jóla Kaldi, a reddish caramel lager. It’s a great beer to enjoy with company and share stories over a good glass of it.” Huginn Ragnarsson: Business Intelligence Specialist, Icelandair

Track down game-changing IPAs

“With the growing culture of Icelandic breweries, there are none better than Malbygg brewery, which is doing great things at the moment. They have changed the IPA game in Iceland by offering super-fresh hazy IPAs and kettle sours. They do not have a taproom yet, but their brews can be found in various craft bars in Iceland and in wine stores. It is without doubt a must-find beer while visiting Iceland.” Jón Skafti Kristjánsson: Marketing Director, Icelandair 

Savour an Icelandic stout

“Sampling some of Iceland’s finest craft beers is a must during your visit to the country. While taste varies from person to person, there are definitely some that stand out for the taste buds. If you are a stout person, then the imperial stouts of Borg Brugghús are something to savor, Surtur is a great example of barrel-aged goodness. Additionally, Malbygg brewery’s Kisi (English: Cat) is a juicy and tasty New England Pale Ale with Mosaic, Simcoe and Citra hops.” Ásgeir Einarsson: Digital Business Development, Icelandair

Soak in a beer bath

“If you want to try something different there is a beer spa in North Iceland close to Akureyri where you can lie in a bathtub for 25 minutes, filled with beer, water, hops and yeast. After that you go into a relaxation room for another 25 minutes. This treatment is supposed to be both cleansing for the skin and have a positive effect on your health.” Jón Skafti Kristjánsson: Marketing Director, Icelandair 

Top bars when visiting Reykjavík

“There are a number of recommended bars to experience the variety of craft beers available in Iceland through the development of microbreweries. Skúli Craftbar is a comfortable place to sit down to drink beers with friends and chat, with 14 beers taps and regular beer events. Micro Bar kind of started it all, by being the first real craft beer bar in Reykjavík. They offer a lot of local selection and also showcase the Gæðingur brewery.” A selection from Jón Skafti Kristjánsson: Marketing Director, Icelandair & Ásgeir Einarsson: Digital Business Development, Icelandair

Icelandair has joined the ever-growing beer-crafting landscape in Iceland, propelled since prohibition ended 30 years ago. The airline has recently launched its own onboard beer: Snæbjört (pronounced sny-be-ert), inspired by Icelandic winter light and providing passengers with a unique chance to celebrate onboard this season. Named after the lovely glow of the Icelandic snow, the pale ale possesses a light gold color which aims to celebrate the snowy season and the glimmers of light that manage to illuminate the Icelandic darkness. Snæbjört took over from its onboard predecessor, the 737 MAX IPA, which the airline brewed in celebration of the launch of the company’s new Boeing 737 MAX 8.

Whether you are flying via the Icelandic skies with us or traveling to Iceland to explore the beer landscape, celebrating Iceland’s National Beer Day is an experience to be enjoyed with Icelandair. To book flights or find out more about the Snæbjört pale ale please visit:


#MyStopover @Icelandair

For more information please contact Oliver Avent on 020 7292 6206 / (

Notes to Editors


Icelandair is a transatlantic airline and offers an opportunity for passengers to take a stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare. Since the 1960s, Icelandair has encouraged passengers to enjoy an Icelandair Stopover and now there’s more choice and variety on offer than ever before, with the service available on all transatlantic routes from 24 European destinations to 20 North American gateways (including latest additions San Francisco, Kansas City and Cleveland). Icelandair offers flights between Iceland and the following destinations:

Canada: Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver

Europe: Reykjavík, Amsterdam, Bergen, Berlin, Billund, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm and Zurich

USA: Anchorage, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa and Washington D.C.