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Buying Liquor, Duty Free or Costco?

Kailua, Hawaii
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Buying Liquor, Duty Free or Costco?
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I have read that folks recommend hitting the Duty Free upon arrival at KEF, if you want to buy adult beverages at a somewhat reasonable price. However we'll be picking up a campervan and heading out for 14 days, and I see there is a Costco very close by to the campervan place so we planned on stopping there for supplies. Does anyone know whether Costco is cheaper than Duty Free for liquor?

Thanks

9 replies to this topic
Minnesota
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110 posts
1. Re: Buying Liquor, Duty Free or Costco?
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Costco in Iceland doesn't sell alcohol to individuals.

Los Alamos, New...
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7,258 posts
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2. Re: Buying Liquor, Duty Free or Costco?
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Duty Free

Northumberland...
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3. Re: Buying Liquor, Duty Free or Costco?
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You can't buy alcohol anywhere but Vinbudin shops (and bars and restaurants, obviously). OK, that's not 100% true - you can buy beer that's less than about 2% alcohol in supermarkets, but it's not really worth it.

Reykjavik
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To the original question: As an individual you won’t be permitted to shop for alcohol in Cosco. They can wholesale to companies with a permit to buy/sell/serve alcohol. Your options are limited to Duty Free, Vinbudin (ATVR – Áfengis og Tóbaksversun Ríkisins – the Alcohol and Tobaco Store of the State).

Alcohol is undeniably expensive in Iceland, but IMHO some of the prices are overhyped. I think stronger alcohol tends to be very expensive (bottle of gin 7000-10000 ISK) but good light wines and beers not necessarily so much. If you go to vinbudin.is you can sort according to brands/types and you can find beers (330ml) ranging from about 200 ISK to 800. The cheaper ones tend to be Danish pilsners, but IMHO can be quite acceptable. Its when you go to more specific types, IPA’s, microbrewery etc that the prices really start climbing.

Regarding wines the price starts relatively high (about 2000 ISK for a bottle) but the better the wine the lesser the price-difference compared to abroad. It’s due to the price-structure and taxes.

If you are into stronger stuff use your duty-free quota for that and get your beers at ATVR.

Finally: Iceland has a very strict no-alcohol and driving policy, and police are permitted (and do) to stop without reason to ask for a license and check sobriety. Make sure some time passes from the last drink to the first drive of the morning.

Northumberland...
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5. Re: Buying Liquor, Duty Free or Costco?
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Kind of off-topic, but is home brewing allowed in Iceland? In the UK, you can make as much beer, cider or still wine as you like, as long as you don't sell it, but you can't distill spirits (or at least not without a licence, and you need to distill 1800 or more litres a year for that. Which is an awful lot of gin or whisky to get through).

Reykjavik
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6. Re: Buying Liquor, Duty Free or Costco?
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Home brewing is allowed up to a point…

Basically you are allowed to home-brew to a certain alcoholic level. I’m not clear on the level but for this post let’s say it’s 5%

On labels for home-brew kits you have the English-language instructions, but then you might have a page with Icelandic instructions. One line would generally be something like “Use less than the suggested 2 kilos of sugar for 10% strength because that wouldn’t be legal” – indirectly telling you exactly what to do.

Wine home-brewing used to be big, now it’s more beer.

Distilling is not allowed per se but isn’t high on the police to-do list. They will go after those that sell home-brew, but for self-use they don’t bother. Icelandic moonshine is called Landi (countryman, as in “He’s Icelandic – he’s our countryman”) and generally has a terrible reputation. It’s basically a fermentation mainly potatoes, yeast and sugar that’s distilled once or twice and then run through a coal-filter (once or twice). It can have a unique taste although the aim is to get it tasteless. I personally only drink Landi made by people I know.

Northumberland...
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Sounds a bit like Poitín (Poteen) from Ireland. Once tried, never repeated. Terrible stuff, usually you have no idea how strong it really is.

Kailua, Hawaii
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Thanks all! Regarding liquor, Iceland sounds like Utah.

Minnesota
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110 posts
9. Re: Buying Liquor, Duty Free or Costco?
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I'd equate it more to New Hampshire. Alcohol is easily obtainable, but the government just takes all the profit from the sales of it by running all the stores. :)

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