Icelanders turned out in force to celebrate the reappearance of beer in liquor stores and bars of the North Atlantic island, where sales had been banned for 74 years.

There was brisk trading all day Wednesday in Reykjavik shops, restaurants and bars as six- and 12-packs of American Budweiser, Danish Tuborg and Austrian Kaiser rapidly crossed counters on what has affectionately become known as Iceland's B-Day."This is a turning point in Icelandic cultural history," said a beaming Hortur Gudnason, a printer and president of Iceland's Beerlovers Association. "I had a symbolic celebration this morning, but will be getting down to the real thing tonight."

Despite sub-zero temperatures, Gudnason and other hardy descendants of Nordic Vikings lined up outside state-run alcohol stores which since the end of prohibition in 1922 have sold spirits and wine, but not alcoholic beer.