I was interviewed yesterday by international radio station, Monocle, [51.00-56.00] on the subject of ‘whale beer’, a topic which has triggered considerable media and public debate over the past 48 hours! Interviewed alongside me was Dabjartur Arilíusson, owner of the Steðjar micro-brewery, which is collaborating with fin whalers, Hvalur, to produce a limited edition beer available only during the Icelandic mid-winter festival of Þorrablót (Thorrablot).
Dabjartur seemed taken aback by the huge international media and public interest in his product which he regarded simply as a novelty drink to wash down the hearty foods traditionally consumed at Thorrablot. I commented that, given that there is only the equivalent of a pinch of whale meal per pint, it is more the principle of the matter – and the appalling arrogance of the whalers – to seek to reduce a beautiful, sentient and endangered whale to a mere ingredient on the side of a beer bottle.
I had been expecting a robust defence of his position, but to his credit, Dabjartur readily agreed, saying that he both understood and accepted the concerns of both WDC and the wider public and realised that using even a small amount of whale by-products in his beer still constituted using whale. He admitted that the beer had been a ‘bold experiment’ but conceded that it was one that was unlikely to be repeated.
Time now surely to ‘call time’ on whale beer.