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Akureyri, Iceland

Giant Viking beer can

Akureyri is home to an oversized can of one of Iceland's favourite beers. 

From 1915-1989, beer was banned in Iceland. Although it seems completely counter-intuitive compared to the image of the beer and mead-swilling Viking sailor, the malted beverage was outlawed for most of the 20th century. Today, Iceland has begun to embrace the drink, and a giant beer can at the Viking brewery in Akureyri marks that change.

Standing two stories high and reaching the top of the Viking Brewery, the golden brewski proudly greets visitors. Compared to the drab warehouse housing the brewery, the giant Viking can seem to be about half marketing and half rebellion to the 74 dry years on the chilly island.

As if making up for lost time, the last twenty years has seen remarkable growth in the brewing industry, and many brewers have gone on to embrace their roots in light of the recent prohibition including brewing the recent Viking-themed microbrew “Black Death.”

If you are facing the beer can, to the left, near the corner of the building is a pipe that drains what appears to be a beer byproduct right into the street.  It probably is not potable, but it does add a nice beer smell to the area.