As the winter Olympics continue in Sochi, Russia, we also continue with our series dedicated to some of the top medal contending countries and their awesome drinking cultures. We began the series last week with the United States and today we’re paying tribute to Norway.


Norway means business when it comes to the winter Olympics. They are the most successful nation in winter Olympic history, both in terms of medals won and gold medals won. This means that there are very few sports that they don’t dominate, but their top overall sport is definitely skiing. In fact, retired Norwegian cross-country skiier Bjorn Daehlie holds the record for most career winter Olympic medals, winning 12 medals from 1992 through 1998; Michael Phelps from the U.S. holds the record for the summer Olympics.


So, what are the Norwegians drinking while they cheer on their country in the winter Olympics? There’s a good chance many of them are knocking back some Carlsberg or Ringnes beer.


Carlsberg-Ringnes is the major beer company for Norway and Denmark; the Ringnes portion is based in Norway and the Carlsberg portion is in Denmark. Ringnes AS is the largest brewery in Norway, employing 1600 workers, and it was founded in 1876. Ringnes Pils is Norway’s leading pilsner beer and it gets its golden color from the use of pilsner malt. It has a clean taste with a light and dry malt sweetness, a slight note of fruit and well balanced amount of hops.


Although Carlsberg is made in Denmark and Ringnes is made in Norway, it seems that the lines have blurred somewhere over the years. For example, at Walt Disney World’s Epcot, visiting “Norway” used to mean you’d be able to purchase a Ringnes beer. However, in recent years, the Ringnes was phased out and replaced with Carlsberg (much to some Norwegians’ chagrin).


Whether a Norwegian Olympic team supporter chooses to grab a Ringnes or a Carlsberg, one thing is for sure: they’re probably going to be saying “Cheers” to many more gold medals.