A new Icelandic beer distributor has begun delivering craft beer directly to customers’ homes in contravention of laws on alcohol sales to individuals, RÚV reports. “We’re challenging things a bit,” remarked Þórgnýr Thoroddsen, one of the owners behind Bjórland (‘Beerland’). “But really, we’re doing it because to us, it’s the most reasonable thing in the world.”
Bjorland.is went live on March 1. Initially, it only delivered beer to restaurants with licenses to sell alcohol. The COVID-19 pandemic immediately took a huge toll on the fledgeling company’s profits, however, which is how the owners came to the idea of experimenting with home delivery to individual customers. Reception has been very positive thus far.
“In short, we believe that we’re selling products that are on par with any other,” said Þórgnýr, pointing to inconsistencies within existing laws. “It’s already possible to get [alcoholic] beverages of this kind, in the same quantities, delivered to your home from abroad.”
Asked if he was concerned about incurring penalties for breaking current laws on domestic sales and deliveries of beer to customers at home, Þórgnýr said yes, but not immediately. He believes this is the only way to see how online alcohol sales to individuals in Iceland will be handled going forward.
Þórgnýr also said that his company was in a better position to challenge existing distribution and sales laws than small local breweries. “We’re taking one for the industry as a whole because small breweries generally don’t do so well against large ones,” he said. Small breweries have to invest a lot of energy into marketing and have a much smaller market share than their larger counterparts. Bjórland, concluded Þórgnýr, is in a much better position to make this challenge; small breweries have more to lose.