Although prohibition was once the law in Iceland, today the country produces and exports one-of-a-kind spirits and delicious beers that are uniquely Icelandic. Ölgerðin, Iceland’s oldest brewery and spirits company, produces Iceland’s signature spirit, Brennivín, known to many by its Icelandic nickname “Svarti Dauði” which means “Black Death.” So named for its black label, not for its caraway flavor! Traditionally, Brennivín is taken as an ice-cold shot, but bartenders all over Iceland and throughout the USA have been finding new ways to use the spirit in various cocktails, like the Crystalline Collins.
Although Brennivín was first produced in 1935, when prohibition was partially relaxed on the island, beer remained forbidden until March 1, 1989, when the prohibition was finally lifted. One of Iceland’s best known beers, Gull (Icelandic for “gold”), has been enjoyed by Icelanders (and mispronounced by visitors) since “Beer Day,” which is celebrated every year on March 1, honoring the elimination of the 74-year prohibition of beer. Gull is a pale lager brewed in the tradition of the German Münchener helles method, in which malt plays a major role. Its distinctive taste is derived from the pure Icelandic water and barley with which it is brewed. Gull is classic and crisp, has a clear golden sheen, small white head, light toasted malt nose and a fresh lemony tang. No wonder Gull has received a number of prizes, including the “World’s Best Standard Lager” at the World Beer Awards 2011. Just one year later, in 2012, Bríó from Borg Brugghús won “World’s Best Pilsner Lager” at the World Beer Awards 2012.
Today, Reykjavík boasts both a booming cocktail and craft brewing culture, anchored by Ölgerðin’s spirits, and the progressive craft beers from Borg Brugghús, and at almost every bar and restaurant in the city.
Due to the current circumstances and more people having to stay home, we’re proud to be partnering with Duke’s Liquor Box of Brooklyn, NY for online ordering. They are now shipping Brennivín and Opal to over 30 states. Plus, Duke’s has three wild foraged Icelandic fruit liqueurs, Blueberry, Crowberry and Rhubarb, exported for the first time outside of Iceland from 64 Reykjavik Distillery, available for purchase as well.
What You Could Win
In celebration of Ölgerðin, we’re excited to offer one lucky winner (must be 21+) a prize pack that includes:
- Brennivin Baseball Hat
- Brennivin T-shirt
To enter through the form below, visit https://www.olgerdin.is/en/about-us/history/ and answer this question: “What year was Olgerdin established?” Enter the answer in the space provided in the form below, along with your information and click submit to be entered to win the prize pack.