Half Capitalist Venture, Half Protest, Bjórland Sells Icelandic Beer Online

Half Capitalist Venture, Half Protest, Bjórland Sells Icelandic Beer Online

Published June 10, 2020

Sam O'Donnell
Photo by

In an unprecedented turn of events, Bjórland, a new online store offering home delivery of beer from major craft breweries in Iceland, has opened.

Owner and operator Þórgnýr Thoroddsen told Fréttablaðið, “As we see it, these products are actually just like any other products, and should be sold like anything else. We just decided to take the initiative.”

Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir had plans to submit a bill to Parliament that would permit the sale of alcohol in online stores without the involvement of the government.

Laws in Iceland have hitherto prevented domestic parties from selling alcohol in the country, whether it’s online or brick and mortar, but it has been possible to order alcohol online through foreign websites. However, Bjórland is based entirely in Iceland.

The Grapevine reached out to Þórgnýr. In his opinion, he said, it’s unlikely Áslaug’s bill will pass. But he and his company want to give the government no excuse to ignore this issue.

As for what they anticipate as the government’s next move, he said, “It’s hard to say. It could range from them giving us a fine to all out closing us down. In either case, we have something that we can actually run in front of the judge.”

The website is a healthy blend of capitalist venture and protest. “We have little to lose and a lot to gain,” he said, adding that breweries and large wholesalers have too much to lose to make such a stand. “It really is time for us to step out of the stone age.”

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!

Show Me More!