Einstök Ölgerð's Gudjon Gudmundsson on why you should support Iceland's World Cup team
After suffering a disappointing loss to Trinidad and Tobago in the qualifying round, the United States men's national team was eliminated from 2018 FIFA World Cup competition. Rather than being shocked, famed Icelandic brewer Einstök Ölgerð -- also known as the Einstök Beer Company -- is telling Americans to look at things differently. Instead of altogether tuning out completely, Einstök is urging followers of the American team to support Iceland's national team and utilize the social media hashtag "#ADOPTICELAND."
To learn more about this campaign, I spoke with Gudjon Gudmundsson, managing director for Einstök. Gudmundsson also clued me in on major footballers from Iceland who are doing well in the Premier League. More on Einstök -- which recently introduced a 2018 FIFA World Cup commemorative bottle for its White Ale, beyond expanding its seasonal Arctic Berry Ale's distribution in the States -- can be found online at www.einstokbeer.com.
Where did the idea for the #AdoptIceland campaign come from?
Gudjon Gudmundsson: One of our founders Jack Sichterman, who sadly has passed away since came up with the idea. He saw an opportunity in leveraging the underdog status of Iceland around the world to promote the country and its products, including our award-winning ales, of course.
Was the soccer team immediately behind this? Did you hear from any of the players?
Gudjon Gudmundsson: We do not have an official sponsorship or connection with the team itself. I have heard from a player who plays abroad and liked the idea of uniting people behind the team.
Is football your go-to sport? Does the World Cup really take over your life?
Gudjon Gudmundsson: I have been a big fan of football from when I saw my first competitive match at around eight years old. I love football and used to play for fun. The World Cup has always been very special to me and I have followed quite a few of them and even attended a few matches in Germany in 2006 when I drove about 3,000 miles along with two of my brothers and was fortunate enough to attend the final itself between Italy and France.
In later years I have not followed it as intensely as before, but I have never missed a final and very few matches in the playoffs actually. This year I finally have a great reason to be excited and am travelling to Moscow for the Argentina match on June 16th.
Iceland national team aside, what is your football club of choice?
Gudjon Gudmundsson: I support IA Akranes in Iceland and Manchester United is my favourite European team. I follow the English Premier League quite closely. In past World Cups, I've usually supported England and Holland. England has not done well in recent years and Holland did not make it to this year's competition, as we know.
For those unaware, who are some of the star football players of Iceland?
Gudjon Gudmundsson: We are first and foremost a team. We have some great players for sure like Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Berg Gudmundsson who play in the English Premier League, but above all, we have players like our captain Aron Einar Gunnarsson and the rest of them who give it all for each other and the nation.
What is coming up for Einstok in the coming months?
Gudjon Gudmundsson: We have a couple new beer styles in the works. Some pretty special recipes, different from anything we've ever done. We are also in the process of solidifying our expansion plans to new territories across the world. Stay tuned.
Finally, Gudjon, any last words for the team?
Gudjon Gudmundsson: Play your heart out guys. Win or lose, we're proud of you.