Thirty years ago, a sobering dry spell in Iceland’s history came to an end.

On Friday, the country celebrates the anniversary of the lifting of a decades-long ban on beer with — what else? — a nationwide Beer Day.

The drink was outlawed in Iceland for 74 years, while all other booze was completely legal. The alcoholic anomaly finally ended on March 1, 1989.

In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, brewer Sigurdur Snorrason drinks a craft beer at a festival in Reykjavik. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)
In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, brewer Sigurdur Snorrason drinks a craft beer at a festival in Reykjavik. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)

The beer ban was a holdover from the country’s prohibition era, which started in 1915 when the population voted in a referendum to outlaw all alcoholic drinks.

Prohibition was repealed in another national referendum in 1933. But the majority vote was tight and to appease a powerful temperance movement, Iceland’s parliament decided beer would remain illegal.

In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, historian Stefan Palsson observes the beer selection at a government-run monopoly liquor store in Reykjavik. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, historian Stefan Palsson observes the beer selection at a government-run monopoly liquor store in Reykjavik. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)
In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, People gather to drink beer at a craft beer festival in Reykjavik. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)
In this photo taken on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, People gather to drink beer at a craft beer festival in Reykjavik. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)
In this file photo taken on Dec. 18, 2016, tourists and locals gather for a drink at the Kex bar in Reykjavik, Iceland. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)
In this file photo taken on Dec. 18, 2016, tourists and locals gather for a drink at the Kex bar in Reykjavik, Iceland. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, Hreindis Ylva, who is born on Iceland's Beer Day March 1, 1989, poses for a photograph at Reykjavik's open air museum. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)
In this photo taken Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, Hreindis Ylva, who is born on Iceland’s Beer Day March 1, 1989, poses for a photograph at Reykjavik’s open air museum. (AP Photo/Egill Bjarnason)

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.