For many of us, St. Patrick’s Day means green beer, packed bars, and corned beef and cabbage for dinner. For those who work in the alcohol industry, the holiday is an annual boon that provides a much-needed revenue boost during the long winter months.
According to Neilson, overall beer sales for St. Patrick’s Day 2018 increased by 174% compared to an average day. And typically, a significant percentage of that extra revenue goes to small, craft breweries. This year, many need an influx of cash more than ever as they struggle with COVID-19 restrictions.
With St. Paddy’s parties on hold, many breweries are turning to online retailers like Tavour to get their St. Patrick’s Day-themed releases into the hands of thirsty craft fans. As much of the industry continues to struggle, and beer drinkers celebrate their holidays at home, online sales have provided an outlet for many in the industry.
“From a sales standpoint, we’re going to sell more Shamrock Shake [Irish Cream Stout] than we did last year,” says Jason Brewer of Ohio’s Listermann Brewing Company. Although, he also points out that profit margins on cans are significantly lower than those achieved with draft beer in the taproom, plus it is now available in 25 states via the app.
But still: “It’s not going to be the fun taproom party that we usually have. It’s going to be mostly people partying at home.”
Maryland’s True Respite Brewing will also offer their annual release of Irish Eyes, Irish Red Ale, online, although co-founder Brendan O’Leary says that the loss of St. Patrick’s Day isn’t the problem in and of itself.
“We have plenty of other holidays we celebrate that offer nice bumps in the taproom, but I wouldn’t say any one of them is so essential to our business,” O’Leary explains. “It’s the accumulation of ALL the lost holidays (and the plain old normal days) that are adding up and making things really tight right now.”
True Respite will be skipping their beloved St. Patrick’s Day party this year (the aptly named ‘St. Paddy’s O’Leary-Palooza) but the brewers still encourage beer drinkers to join in the celebration of Irish culture.
“Join a virtual tasting. Order for home delivery. Mask up and grab some beer to go,” he says. “And once you have your beer, do something that’ll last… like learning an Irish folk song on the penny whistle.”