The beer is named after the British oil tanker El Grillo, which sank just outside Seyðisfjörður harbour February 10, 1944 in an air raid by German Fokker Wulff 200 bombers during World War II. The 7,264 ton, 147 meter long oil tanker rests at a 45 meters depth (apparently it is only 27 meters to the bridge) in the middle of the fjord. Oil has been pumped from the wreckage and today, it is one of the most popular diving spots in Iceland.
The bottle labels recount the history of this event. On the front is a photo of the sinking ship and a part of the story is on the back. In order to get the full account, you will need to buy several bottles. That is a smart business move and a philanthropic act all wrapped into one.
The beer contains 5.0% alcohol volume and is manufactured by Ölgerðin Egill Skallagrímsson in accordance with Þórisson’s recipe.
Last April, Grapevine journalist Steinunn Jakobsdóttir visited Seyðisfjörður, a small and extremely charming fishing village on the East coast of Iceland, where she met Eyþór Þórisson, restaurant owner and entrepreneur. At that point, Þórisson let the Grapevine in on his plans to brew beer made from his own recipe and named after Seyðisfjörður’s most famous landmark, El Grillo. Þórisson claims to have been perfecting his recipe since he first tasted beer decades ago. This has now become a reality. The smooth tasting El Grillo beer is now available from the State Alcohol Store, ÁTVR.