Iceland Mag

10 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Beware: The “Pilsner” at grocery stores is not beer!

By Magnús Sveinn Helgason

  • It's not beer The alcohol content of Pilsner sold at grocery stores and gas stations is less than 2.25%.

Navigating grocery stores and consumption cultures of foreign countries can prove pretty challenging, even to experienced travellers. Things that seem obvious to locals are usually anything but, and things you might expect from home are nowhere to be found. This can cause confusion and in some cases embarrassing or frustrating mistakes.

One of these mistakes is stocking up on pilsner beer at the grocery store or gas station in Iceland.

In Iceland alcoholic beer is only sold in the stores of the state alcohol monopoly ÁTVR and at licensed restaurants and bars. Any drink sold at grocery stores must therefore have lower alcohol content than 2.25%. This means that the cans which look like beer cans, labelled Pilsner are not beer: They contain a virtually non-alcoholic beverage which might look and taste like a very light beer, but its consumption will certainly not have the same effect as proper beer!

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