Americans to drop $4.6B to party on St. Pat’s Day
More than half the nation plans to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and millions will be doing it with a glass of beer. Or several. Americans will spend $4.6 billion to party and people will down 13 million pints of Guinness, according to research from financial advisory site WalletHub. The Irish Bred Pub in downtown Montgomery knows they’ll be busy, and they’ve already had plenty of practice. They had what restaurant general manager Chris McBride called a pre-St. Patrick’s Day “dress rehearsal” Saturday, ushering in crowds eager to belly up for green beer, sour kraut, corned beef and cabbage and more while listening to live music.
The pub was closed Sunday, and McBride spent the day stockpiling 10 kegs of Guinness and some of the more popular food. A crowd waiting at the door again when it opened for lunch Monday. All 45 employees will be there Tuesday, and they’ve stocked up on everything. Still, he admits he can do only so much to prepare for one of the pub’s most chaotic days of the year. “It’s gonna be busy, and we’re going to get some drunk people who do some crazy stuff,” he said. “That’s gonna happen. We’re really a restaurant, but on St. Patrick’s Day we’re a bar.”
Such a big drinking holiday also means increased patrolling for drunken driving. Alcohol-related crashes claim a life every 46 minutes on St. Patrick’s Day nationwide, according to the WalletHub study. Not everyone plans to drink. Most will just wear green — about 82%, according to the National Retail Federation. And about 30 million people plan to make a special dinner at home, but about 37 million will go to a bar or restaurant.
McBride said his crowd will be filled with people who don’t normally eat out. It’s also a big day for the pub’s bottom line — a Tuesday roughly twice as busy as a big Saturday night. But he said Tuesday won’t make or break his business. “Really, the consistency of every day lunch is more important,” McBride said. “I’d rather us knock the ball out of the park every day at lunch and keep these business folks happy. That’s our bread and butter.”