An old sea shanty asked, “What do you do with a drunken sailor?” For the people of modern Iceland, the question is not so abstract. Last weekend, thousands of American troops descended on Reykjavík and literally drank all the beer.
7,000 American sailors and Marines visited the Nordic Island after participating in Operation Trident Juncture, a massive NATO war exercise. When considering that count of US servicemen and women, keep in mind that the city only has about 120,000 residents and the total population of Iceland is only 340,000.
As reported by Iceland Magazine, the troops headed straight to the local bars and proceeded to drink until the beer supplies were exhausted. Downtown hotspots like Sæta Svínið and the aptly named The American Bar reported a run on their stock.
“We had to send people out of the bar to our warehouses to bring beer back as quickly as possible,” American Bar owner Svendsen told Stars & Stripes. “Other bars ran out of beer altogether.”
Some establishments tried to call in reinforcements. Local news site Vísir reported that the brewery Ölgerð Egils Skallagrímssonar, makers of Gull, dispatched emergency shipments to bars in need. However, blogger Eiríkur Jónsson said that effort was in vain, writing that bars “were were fighting an overwhelming force.”
Visir also noted that the Americans were quite open-minded about their choice of suds. The publication stated that the Yanks preferred to drink locally produced beers and microbrews. However, when supplies ran low, all brews would do—as they say, “Any port in a storm.”