Icelandic Innovators are Making Beer out of Whales

By Adam Clark Estes on at

These days brewers get pretty creative with what they put in their beer. You can get beer containing anything from doughnuts to moon dust. And, wacky as it is, weird beer is a pretty fun conversation starter. That is, until you start putting endangered species in it.

This week, environmentalists are up in arms over Icelandic brewery Steðji's controversial decision to team up with a whaling company and make beer that contains whale meal. The brewers say the whale makes their 5.2 per cent beer healthier, because it's high in protein and low in fat. On the brewery's website, they even say drinking it will make you a "true Viking."

But conservationists don't see it that way. Leaders from Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) said that "reducing a beautiful, sentient whale to an ingredient on the side of a beer bottle is about as immoral and outrageous as it is possible to get."

Nevertheless, Steðji stands by its brew that was made specially for Iceland's annual mid-winter festival Thorrablot. The brewery's owner, Dagbjartur Ariliusson, told reporters this week that serving the whale beer is in line with the centuries-old tradition of eating whale, including pickled whale blubber, during the festival. But, honestly, capitalism might just take care of this. Evidently, the whale beer tastes absolutely awful. [FastCo via Guardian]