East Iceland Startup Makes Beverages Flavored with Locally Foraged Herbs

A start-up in East Iceland is producing nonalcoholic beverages using wild, Icelandic herbs, Austurfrétt reports. The company, Könglar (meaning ‘pine cones’), has been selling its beverages at restaurants throughout East Iceland since earlier this year and aims to be a truly local product. “People are always asking us if it’s possible to get [our drinks] in the [capital area],” says marketing manager Brynjar Darri Sigurðsson. “And we always say, ‘no, you have to come out East.’”

Producer Dagrún Drótt Valgarðsdóttir got the idea for making natural beverages from local, Icelandic ingredients after sampling a blueberry drink made in Finland. “We started to wonder if we could use that method using the nature we have here,” she says.

Könglar received subsidies from the municipality of Fljótsdalshérað, as well as the government’s Food Fund, which aims to “strengthen development and innovation in the production and processing of food and by-products from agricultural and marine products,” with an emphasis “on innovation, sustainability, value creation and the competitiveness of Icelandic food throughout the country.”

Thus far, the company’s beverages, all of which have names inspired by local folk tales, include a lovage drink, a dandelion iced tea, and a rhubarb soda. Dagrún says their focus has been “to use what’s around us as much as possible” instead of opting for imported produce or ingredients that aren’t native to Iceland. So, for instance, if they want the flavor profile of a tart, green apple, they use rhubarb, which is plentiful in East Iceland. In the future, Dagrún says Könglar would like to use their same production and infusion methods to make herbal-flavored beers and wine.

Follow Könglar on Instagram, here.

Icelandic Glacial Developing Cannabis Drink

Beverage producer Icelandic Glacial is developing a special cannabis drink intended to be sold on the global market. Vísir reports that the beverage will be made with Icelandic water and CBD oil, a non-intoxicating marijuana ingredient that has been credited by some as having a variety of health benefits.

Earlier this year, Icelandic Glacial signed a three-year contract with the US-based company Youngevity International to develop the beverage, as well as other health-related products.

Founder and chairman of the Icelandic Glacial board Jón Ólafsson has said that the CBD drink will have medicinal properties that will be of help to people with a variety of ailments and pain. Jón noted that CBD oil is sold over-the-counter in almost all countries in Europe, although not in Iceland. He also said that similar cannabis drinks are available on the American market and that it’s his hope that Icelandic Glacial’s own CBD drink will eventually be sold worldwide.