A Drinking Game Worth Toasting to on St. Patrick’s Day

BY Elizabeth Shell  March 15, 2013 at 3:46 PM EST


A foam art shamrock atop a Guinness. Photo courtesy of flickr user puamelia.

With this weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations just hours away, bars and pubs are likely stocking up on extra supplies for one of the largest drinking holidays in the U.S. (Our bet is Guinness will be a top commodity.)

But before you wag your finger at us for being stereotypical in linking the Irish and drinking, consider this: a report by the American Association of Wine Economists found that per person, the Irish outdrink everybody else. On average, each Irish lad and lass drinks about 163 liters of beer a year. That’s something like nine bottles of beer a week.

That puts the Irish just slightly ahead of the Czech Republic in terms of beer consumption per person, and leaps and bounds ahead of Mexico, Italy and France. (Read our original post where we cover much more of the economics. And yes, it turns out beer consumption is all about the benjamins.)

Americans drink about half the beer the Irish do — we average 86 liters per year — but because our population is so much larger, we consume a hefty total of 25.8 billion liters a year, compared to Ireland’s 700 million liters. But since 2003, no country has been able to outdrink China, whose total beer consumption has skyrocketed since the mid-1980s. Based on FAOstat data, they put back over 40 billion litters.

So should you find yourself fancing a pint this weekend and in need of beer-related trivia to impress your green-clad friends, check out our infographics to see how beer consumption has changed over a generation and how much one would need to drink to keep up with their compatriots from other countries.

And what proper celebration wouldn’t be complete without a beer drinking game? In ours, compare the U.S. (and Ireland) against other countries in their thirst for beer via ‘International Beer Cup.’ Put your friends on their arse, all without drinking a drop.