The History of Green Beer (Or Lack of History?)

As I was driving into work this morning the local radio show I listen to was discussing their upcoming “St Patrick’s Day” celebration. I remembered that I have been invited to my good friend’s usual shenanigan filled pub at his house since it falls on a Friday this year. The Radio Show was telling all to be sure and come in for fun and green beer.

Is there History?

It made me begin to wonder, what the history of this bizarre tradition is? I mean, seriously, This cannot be a true Irish tradition right? I mean: “Ya-canna’ just add blue dye to a pint’ah Guinness and make it ga’reen can’ya lad?”

My initial research during lunch proved that I might have better luck locating that elusive pot o’ gold after I eat me lucky charms. My conclusion is that it is an American concoction for a gimmick as Valentine’s Day was to sell greeting cards.

Green beer seems to have appeared in the early 1900’s in Boston or New York. In another Article, I found a link to a newspaper article from 1914 that describes a New York social club serving green beer at a celebratory St. Patrick’s Day dinner. The concoction is attributed to a Dr. Curtin, a coroner’s physician who achieved the effect by putting a drop of “wash blue” dye in a quantity of beer. Possibly after a bet, and or as a “Here, hold my beer and watch this” moment.

I think many will agree that the link between the color green and Ireland, is a comparison and or harkening to the lush landscape that earned the country’s nickname, “The Emerald Isle.”

And yet it still continues

And yet today the trend/tradition has definitely solidified in our culture. I’m unsure if folks on “The Emerald Isle” themselves partake in this tradition, But here in America we have grasped onto it and made it stick.


Have a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone. And remember the real reason we celebrate the holiday Ya’ see: Saint Patrick was a gentleman, Who through strategy and stealth, drove all the snakes from Ireland. So -Here’s a toasting to his health. But not too many toastings, lest you lose yourself, and then forget the good Saint Patrick, and thus see all those snakes again.”

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