Icelandic Brewery to Sell Beer Made from Whale

February 15, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. brew /bru/ (v.) – to produce a drink, especially beer or coffee
Example: Hank brews his own beer.

2. exotic /ɪgˈzɒtɪk/ (adj.) – unusual or uncommon
Example: The store offers exotic food made from snakes and frogs.

3. endangered /ɛnˈdeɪndʒərd/ (adj.) – has very low population and is threatened to disappear completely
Example: Conservationists help protect endangered animals.

4. conservationist /ˌkɒnsərˈveɪʃənɪst/ (n.)  a person who advocates on protecting plants, animals, and other natural resources
ExampleConservationists condemn the use of animal skin in the fashion industry. 

5. shelf life /ʃɛlf laɪf/ (n.) – the period in which food can be stored
Example: Most dairy products have short shelf life, especially when not refrigerated.


Read the text below.
An Icelandic company has recently announced its plans to brew beers with fin whale meat as ingredient.

The brewery [BROO-uh-ree, BROO R-ee] Brugghús Steðja [BROOK-hoohs STEYD-yuh] collaborated with whaling company Hvalur [KWA-luf] to produce an exotic beer. It will be sold in time for Iceland’s mid-winter festival of Thorrablot [thawr-a-blot] to honor the Norse god Thor.

This plan angered environmentalist groups as fin whales are now endangered. According to conservationists, killing whales just to produce a beer is very immoral. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation group (WDC) also believes that the whale beer production is a big threat to the species’ population, with many whale lives wasted just for the drink.

Although the demand for its meat has now decreased, fin whale products are still a commodity for Icelanders, making its consumption a big issue in Iceland. Last year, the WDC were able to expose how the meat of dead fin whales was used as a dog food ingredient   and as a fuel for Hvalur’s hunting vessels.

The brewery owner Dabjartur Arilmusson [dab-YHAR-tuhr a-RIL-muh-sohn]acknowledged that some people would dislike the product because of its whale ingredient. However, he claims that the beer, which has a short shelf life, is a healthy drink, as it is low in fat, rich in protein, and has no sugar.

Despite criticisms, Arilmusson still hopes that many Icelanders will be open to try this beer as it is made specifically for the Thorrablot. During this festival, people consume foods and drinks that they usually would not. A beer with whale ingredient is a good example.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of using whale as a product ingredient? Why or why not?
·         If given the chance, would you be willing to try this beer? Why is that so?

Discussion B

·         Why is it important to save and protect endangered animals?
·         In your opinion, how can the endangered species be protected?


February 15, 2014