A Whaley Bad Idea - The Reykjavik Grapevine

A Whaley Bad Idea

Published January 8, 2014

Larissa Kyzer

The Icelandic brewery Steðji has teamed up with local whaling company Hvalur to release a beer in honor of the seasonal feast of Þorrablót in February—a beer which will contain whale meal and, unsurprisingly, has aroused the anger of environmental activists in the international community, RÚV reports.

“We’ve brewed this flavorful Hvalbjór (Whale Beer) with whale meal,” the Steðji website reads. “Whale meal is very protein-rich and contains almost no fat. That, combined with the fact that there no sugar has been added, makes this a very wholesome drink.” The website goes on to declare that drinkers of Hvalbjór, after enjoying that sought-after whale aftertaste, will become “real Vikings.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Dagbjartur Arilíusson, Steðji’s owner, said that Hvalbjór will only be sold in Iceland from January 24 to February 22, and will not be exported. He stated that the beer was meant to compliment cured Þorrablót food, “including whale fat,” saying “now we have the beer to drink with this food.”

According to a statement issued by Vanessa Williams-Grey, who runs the anti-Icelandic whaling campaign for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) organization,

“Demand for this meat is in decline with fewer and fewer people eating it. Even so, reducing a beautiful, sentient whale to an ingredient on the side of a beer bottle is about as immoral and outrageous as it is possible to get. The brewery may claim that this is just a novelty product with a short shelf life, but what price the life of an endangered whale which might have lived to be 90 years?”

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