Reykjavik sun bathers criticise lack of beer fridge

Iceland’s national alcohol retail monopoly, known as Vinbudin, has received numerous complaints from customers wondering why there is no fridge in their city centre outlet. Some say local bars have bribed the state-owned store in order to sell more cold draught beer.

Most Vinbudin outlets in the capital region have coolers, which are popular with people enjoying warm sunny weather, as has been seen this week. The city centre branch on Austurstraeti however, does not have a refrigerator.

The city centre branch is next to Austurvollur square in the centre of the city. The square is an extremely popular place for locals and visitors to sit out and enjoy the sun. It is also surrounded by bars and restaurants, which sell plenty of cold alcoholic drinks at higher prices than Vinbudin.

DV reports that some customers accuse the local bars of paying the wine shop under the table to maintain its complete lack of cold beer; but the branch manager insists that such accusations are ridiculous. She says the publicly-owned company has been concentrating on installing coolers in new branches and those that have been refurbished. There are no plans to install a fridge in the city centre for at least another year.

People drinking outside at Austurvollur and elsewhere away from bar and café patios are technically breaking the law; but police tend to turn a blind eye if people are not behaving badly and it is not late on a weekend evening.

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