Before we can get to our list, we need to define the beer-drinking holiday. To qualify, it does not need to be an officially sanctioned federal holiday.
A Beer Holiday is a day where, without actually looking at the sales numbers, you know a lot—a lot—of beer is being drunk, and we’re most likely doing it together. This is the first Officially Unofficial Cheers! Beer Holiday Top Five list:
St. Patrick’s Day: Synonymous with green beer (please don’t), shamrocks and drinking well beyond intoxication; the Feast of St. Patrick is actually the celebration of one Irish bishop’s success at converting Irish pagans to Christianity. According to wallethub.com, 13,000,000 pints of Guinness are drunk that day, and the average person has more than four beers. It is a worldwide holiday, and the clear No. 1.
Super Bowl: It used to only be an evening event, but in recent years, big game coverage has started at 6m. More than enough of a reason for bars to open early and beer to start flowing. Then at night, we get together at Super Bowl parties to drink more beer and eat too many chicken wings.
The most widely cited number I can find is 325.5 million gallons of beer is drunk by American’s on that day. That’s about 10 cans for every adult. Even more than all the beer drunk on the first Sunday in February, the year’s most-watched beer commercials will air during the game.
Even the most hardened craft beer drinkers can appreciate the money spent to show us all 30 seconds of Clydesdales galloping through a river to deliver a case of beer to the firehouse.
Independence Day/July 4th: The beach, barbecue and beer. I waffled here. I thought maybe I was being impacted by recency bias, but the big reason the 4th lands at 3 is because it is common to start drinking early in the day.
If you want the good spot on the sand near—but not too near—the bathrooms you need to set up the chairs early. That cooler won’t stay closed for long. Beer drinking starts in the morning and continues through fireworks. Pro tip: Take an early afternoon nap.
Cinco de Mayo: This commemoration of the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla has become popular in America as a celebration of Mexican-American culture, and as an opportunity to enjoy good Mexican-style lagers like Alesmith’s Sublime lager, a favorite of the team at I Like Beer the Podcast. With beer sales almost reaching Super Bowl numbers, this is truly a beer holiday.
Memorial Day & Labor Day (tied): The last Monday in May has been set aside to honor and mourn those who died while serving in the U.S. military. Many Americans do so with a toast and gathering with friends and family celebrating those who serve and appreciating the time we have together.
The first Memorial Day parade was held in 1867 in Rochester, Wisconsin. It is the unofficial kickoff to summer. The first Monday in September has been an official federal holiday since 1894. It’s a day for the workforce to take off, relax and open a beer. It’s the unofficial end of summer.
If that isn’t reason enough to join your family and friends in a pint, then sitting in front of the TV on one of the biggest sports weekends of the year to watch pro and college football, car racing and the U.S. Open while shopping Labor Day sales online should get you there.
And just for fun, I wanted to round out the Top 10:
- Thanksgiving Eve
- Father’s Day
- New Year’s Eve***
An honorable mention to Oktoberfest and December. Oktoberfest is a massive, worldwide drinking event, but it takes place over multiple weeks that vary by location. December is the same. We love holiday cocktails like wassail** and spiced eggnog, but it feels more like one long drinking season as we celebrate multiple holidays building toward New Year’s Eve.
* It’s important to note that this isn’t my own personal favorite drinking holidays list.
**Just kidding. No one drinks wassail.
***Disagree with my list? Let me know on Twitter: @CheersNorthCnty
If you like craft beer, you probably also love a good cup of coffee. Pour a mug and check out most recent episodes of the Roast! West Coast coffee podcast featuring interviews and coffee education with great local coffee professionals.
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