US Soldiers Drink Reykjavik Dry

Huge NATO exercise leaves bars in Icelandic capital out of beer

The Iceland capital of Reykjavik has played host to more than 6,000 U.S. troops a couple of weekends back.

It was part of the biggest NATO exercise in the Nordic countries since the 1980s. But the worst casualty of this combat exercise was Iceland’s beer supplies.

Reykjavik bars inundated with thirsty troops were forced to make emergency beer runs under unprecedented demand.

The local news site Vísir reported that a brewery, Ölgerð Egils Skallagrímssonar, which brews the popular local beer Gull, had to send out emergency supplies to the bars.

But delivery team members found that even then they couldn’t cope with what local blogger Eiríkur Jónsson described as “fighting an overwhelming force”.

Indeed, the mightiest military force on Earth. With a hard-earned thirst.

The troops were apparently very keen on sampling local beers rather than imports, even stretching their palates to micro brews.

Though oddly enough bars were left with plenty of one of the most popular drinks for Icelanders, moss schnapps.

You’d think they could at least have considered a drink that you have on ice.

Full-strength beer was illegal in Iceland until 1 March 1989 (which is celebrated as Beer Day), but it seems it has taken US troops for them to see the power of beer in full flight.

A typical Reyjavik bar (Image: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
A typical Reyjavik bar (Image: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

The NATO-led exercise, Trident Juncture 18, is taking place mostly in Norway, but has also taken in deployments in Sweden and Finland, as well as Iceland.

Nearly 50,000 troops from 29 NATO allies are taking part in the exercises, which also involves 65 naval vessels, 150 aircraft, more than 10,000 vehicles… and a whole lot of Icelandic beer.


(Featured Image: US soldiers continue their pub crawl into Norway. Image: EPA/Lance Cpl. Menelik Collins)