When it comes to Icelandic exports I think most of us would think of musical acts, or perhaps aluminum if you’re knowledgable about tangible, money-making exports. I personally think the best export they have going for them is Einstok Beer.
It started with the search for the best water on the planet. We ultimately found it in the amazing country of Iceland, where abundant water is naturally filtered through ancient lava fields. In exploring ways to share this water with the rest of the world, we partnered with Vífilfell, a beverage bottler and distributor and one of the most respected companies in Iceland. They also happen to own the Viking Brewery in Akureyri – a fishing port located just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle. It was there that Bernard La Borie, David Altshuler and Jack Sichterman hatched the idea to bring handcrafted, Icelandic beer to the world. And so our collaboration with Vífilfell and Baldur the Brewmaster began.
It’s funny because Einstok is only carried in Iceland, the UK and California, but everyone I know who’s tried is obsessed with it. A local restaurant near me struggles to keep it in stock because it’s so popular. That’s not surprising to those who’ve tasted it though. Einstok comes in four flavors: A Toasted Porter, a White Ale, a Pale Ale and the seasonal Dopplebock. If you ask me the Toasted Porter is where it’s at but they’re all equally delicious.
I think what really sells them, or at the very least gets folks to try it, is the immaculate package design. Everything about it has been considered. The most noticeable things to me is the color palette of the beers, which mimic the flavor profiles: white for the White Ale, a light blue for the Pale Ale and a deep, rich blue for the Toasted Porter. Of course, the seasonal dopplebock comes in a festive green, with the Viking sporting a red Rudolph the reindeer nose.
They’ve also done a great job with their use of fonts. The logo uses an odd but quirky serif that certainly has some personality. I wouldn’t say it’s Nordic, but perhaps you could call it neue-Nordic. It’s nicely paired though with a condensed sans-serif that is clear and legible, perfect for thirsty beer drinkers looking for refreshment at a glance.
Finally I love the two iconic symbols they use to define the brand – a Viking and two crossed battle axes. The only other beer brand that come close to this level of badassery is Unibroue, who’s labels look like the album art to heavy metal albums (Trois Pistoles is the perfect example). But this badassery doesn’t come at the cost of being too macho or bro, it’s a design who’s simplicity really is the strength. I think most designers I know wish they would have designed packaging this perfect.
As you can tell I really like this beer, both in flavor and design. If you get the chance I highly recommend grabbing a six pack (of each flavor, of course) and trying it for yourself.