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Icelandic beer

How Much is a Beer in Iceland in 2024?

Updated in May 2024: The article has been updated to reflect prices in 2024.

For many people, an important question to get answered before coming to Iceland is how much is a pint or how much is a beer? There are several alternatives and the price will also depend on whether you are thinking of traditional beers with alcohol or non-alcoholic ones, which have been gaining in popularity globally and even more so in Iceland. The main reasons why beer and alcohol in general is expensive in Iceland are high taxes and state monopoly on selling beer in retail. Let us take a closer look at prices of beers in bars and restaurants, shops and the Duty Free store at the airport. Be aware that the inflation in Iceland just went over 10%, so the prices might have changed when you read this from their current level in May 2024. 

Price Range of Beer in Bars and Restaurants

A small lager beer (0.33 L) on draft at a restaurant in Iceland will typically cost around 1200 ISK (8 EUR/9 USD) while a large beer could cost around 1600 ISK (11 EUR/11 USD)

On happy hour, the price may be down to around 1000 ISK (6 EUR/7 USD) for a large beer.

Beer prices in Iceland 2024

Prices in Vínbúðin (The State Monopoly Stores)

The cheapest 33 cl beer in Vínbúðin costs 224 ISK (Martens Ultra) and the cheapest half litre beer is Karpackie Pils from Poland for 299 ISK (2 EUR/2 USD). Better known brands like Tuborg Grön 50 cl cost 369 ISK and a Heineken of the same size costs 489 ISK and Carlsberg 449 ISK.

Beer prices in retail in Iceland 2024

Prices at the Duty Free Store at Keflavík Airport

The DutyFree store at Keflavík Airport is the place where you can get alcohol cheapest in Iceland, at least legally. A 6-pack of small (33 cl) Carlsberg lager costs 1499 ISK (10 EUR/10 USD) and Icelandic lager Gull Lite costs the same per litre but is sold in 12-packs for 2999 ISK (20 EUR/21 USD). A far better beer than both of these is Kaldi from the first Icelandic micro-brewery, which costs 3199 (21 EUR/22 USD) for ten 33 cl cans.

Prices in Grocery Stores

The beer sold in grocery stores in Iceland is without alcohol (or maximum 2.25%) which makes it exempt from the heavy taxation on alcoholic drinks. Therefore (and due to bigger competition), the prices are much lower. Through the years, several attempts have been made to legalise the sale of alcoholic beverages in grocery stores in Iceland, but those have all failed to date, as there has never been a majority for it in parliament.

Among the best non-alcoholic beers are Ylfa from Borg brugghús and Bríó de Janeiro (available in summer), these cost around 350 ISK (2 EUR/2 USD) for a small can (0.33 cl). The cheapest non-alcoholic beer is Thule 0.5 L from Bónus for 115 ISK (1 EUR/1 USD).

Alcohol Tax in Iceland

The tax on alcohol in Iceland is high in global comparison and has been increasing. The tax in 2024 is as follows:

  • Beer – 142.15 ISK (0.93 EUR/0.98 USD) per cl 
  • Wine – 129.5 ISK (0.85 EUR/0.89 USD) per cl
  • Strong liquor – 175.25 (1.14 EUR/1.21 USD) per cl

Icelandic Beers and Breweries

The variety of Icelandic beers has exploded in the past 10-15 years, since the first microbrewery opened in North Iceland in 2006. Kaldi is brewed in Árskógssandur, a small village close to Akureyri and today they offer brewery tours, operate beer baths in Árskógssandur and a bar in Reykjavík. Brewery tours are available for 3500 ISK per person. 

Gæðingur in Kópavogur in the capital area runs brewery tours by request for 4900 ISK with a minimum of five participants. They opened the first Icelandic craft beer bar, called Microbar Reykjavík downtown.

Dokkan brugghús in Ísafjörður started in 2018 and the main ingredient is spring water from the mountains in the Westfjords, filtered through 14 million years old lava beds. They have a small bar on location where you can taste the different types of beer.

Beljandi brewery and bar is located in Breiðdalsvík in East Iceland. It usually offers 4 to 5 beers at a time. It is mostly sold on location but also in several places in the east in the summer and can be found in Reykjavík and Akureyri from time to time.

The best known Icelandic lager beers are Egils Gull, Thule and Víking gylltur. 

Conclusion

To sum up, here are the main points:

  • The cheapest beer you can get in Iceland is in the duty free store on arrival or departure
    • Unless you are looking for non-alcoholic beers, then the cheapest would be a Thule in Bónus for 115 ISK (1 EUR/1 USD)
  • Common price for a large beer (0.5 L) in a bar or restaurant is 1600 ISK and for a small beer (0.33 L) 1200 ISK
  • In the state monopoly stores (Vínbúðin), the cheapest 0.5 L beer costs 299 ISK while popular brands are priced as follows:
    • Tuborg lager (0.5 L) 369 ISK (2.5 EUR/2.6 USD)
    • Heineken (0.5 L) 489 ISK (3.3 EUR/3.5 USD)
    • Carlsberg (0.5 L) 449 ISK (3 EUR/3.2 USD)
    • Guinness (0.44 L) 489 ISK (3.3 EUR/3.5 USD)

Related:

Too many choices? Get familiar with the beer scene in Iceland by joining a guided tour in Reykjavík:

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