Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Last chance to get a taste of the Christmas beer: Rare sales event at Vínbúðin state liqour stores

By Staff

  • Einstök Doppelbock One of the Christmas beers going on sale Photo/Daníel

Soon the Christmas beer will be removed from the shelves of Vínbúðin, the state monopoly liquor stores to make way for the seasonal Þorrabjór. In the past this has meant that all the Christmas beer which was not sold over the holidays is poured down. Last year over 30,000 liters (7,900 gallons) of beer was poured down after the holidays by producers who were unable to sell all their beer over the holidays.

Christmas beer must be consumed by end of Christmas!
According to the rules of Vínbúðin seasonal beers cannot be sold except during predetermined periods. Christmas beer, for example, cannot be sold at the stores before November 15, and must be removed from the shelves of its stores on January 6, the Thirteenth day of Christmas, and the end of the Holiday season, according to Icelandic tradition.

Read more: Guide to the Þrettándabrennur, the Thirteenth of Christmas bonfires in Reykjavík on Friday

Saving all that beer from going down the drain
However, this means that large quantities of beer have gone to waste every year, as producers are forced to pour it down. According to the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service it is estimated that the stock of Christmas beer at the Vínbúði stores is currently 25,000 liters (6,6000 gallons). 

The directors of the state monopoly liquor stores have decided to amend the rules this year, allowing the Christmas beer to remain on the shelves for the remainder of January, when the next seasonal beer will be introduced, the Þorri beer, brewed to celebrate the Mid-winter's feast of Þorrablót.

Read more: The Downtown Microbrew Walk: A guided walk through the history of beer in Iceland

One of the major breweries also intends to lower its prices to ensure that none of it's beer goes to waste. Vífilfell, which brews popular beer brands Víking, Thule and Einstök, has announced a rare sales event, lowering the price of its Christmas beers by 60-110 ISK per can or bottle. A spokesman for Vífilfell told the local newspaper Morgunblaðið that move was intended to fight food-waste.

"The problem of waste has gained considerable attention in the past few years, and everyone agrees that we need to reduce the amount of food which is wasted." 

By lowering the price of the unsold beer the company hopes to combat one aspect of this problem, "beer-waste".

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