Iceland marks 30 years since the country ended its 74-year ban on beer

Icelanders will be hitting bars and pubs across the nation today to celebrate 30 years since the country ended its 74-year ban on beer. 

While the drink was outlawed for decades, all other booze was completely legal.  

The alcoholic anomaly finally ended on March 1, 1989 - with the nationwide Beer Day created to celebrate its end.

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

The ban was partially lifted seven years later out of economic necessity - Spain refused to buy Iceland's main export, fish, unless Iceland bought Spanish wines.

Icelanders will be hitting bars and pubs across the nation today to celebrate 30 years since the country ended its 74-year ban on beer

Icelanders will be hitting bars and pubs across the nation today to celebrate 30 years since the country ended its 74-year ban on beer

All alcohol was banned under prohibition laws in 1915, which were repealed in 1933. But beer stayed illegal until March 1, 1989, as the country tried to appease the temperance movement. Pictured: Icelanders celebrating the end of the ban on March 2, 1989 

All alcohol was banned under prohibition laws in 1915, which were repealed in 1933. But beer stayed illegal until March 1, 1989, as the country tried to appease the temperance movement. Pictured: Icelanders celebrating the end of the ban on March 2, 1989 

Prohibition was then repealed in another national referendum in 1933.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.

Historian Stefan Palsson, who moonlights as a teacher at a brewery-based 'School of Beer', said that at the time Icelanders didn't miss it.

'They drank in order to become drunk and beer wasn't really efficient for that,' he said.

Alcohol abuse remains an issue. One in 10 Icelandic males over the age of 15 have been to rehab at least once in their lifetime, according to SAA, the country's leading addiction treatment center.

With alcoholism still widespread, most Icelanders favor strict government restrictions on alcohol sales. 

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