Image via Shutterstock

Of the ingredients that go into making a great beer, dead whale is probably not the first that comes to mind. Marine mammal conservationists agree, and they have condemned the sale of a “whale-beer” made by the Icelandic brewery Steðji in cooperation with the whaling company Hvalur. The brewery claims that the beverage will turn drinkers in to “true Vikings”, or at least as close as you can get without the pillaging.

whale beer, iceland, bewery, hvlaur, whale meatImage via Shutterstock

The 5.2% alcohol content beer is being made to celebrate the Icelandic midwinter festival honoring the god Thor. Meat is boiled down to extract oil, and the resulting material is dried, pulverized and added to the wort. Steðji describes the beverage as being more healthy than other brews because the whale meal is high in protein, low in fat, and contains no added sugar. Although “true vikings” were probably not as interested in watching their waistlines as the modern Nordic population, whale conservationists are not buying the spin.

“Demand for this meat is in decline, with fewer and fewer people eating it. Even so, reducing a beautiful, sentient whale to an ingredient on the side of a beer bottle is about as immoral and outrageous as it is possible to get. The brewery may claim that this is just a novelty product with a short shelf life, but what price the life of an endangered whale which might have lived to be 90 years?” said Vanessa Williams-Grey, head of the Icelandic chapter of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation group.

Despite a tidal wave of negative media attention, the brewery’s owner, Dagbjartur Ariliusson confirmed that the beer will be made for limited sale from January 24 to February 22, 2014. He says that for centuries, his people’s traditions during the midwinter months involved eating preserved meats including whale fat, and his company is providing a beer to drink with that food. The beer will not be sold for export, but it can almost be certain that it will not sit well with animal lovers around the world.

Via The Guardian