St. Patrick's Day Finances, Facts and Figures ... Likely More Than $5 Billion Spent

If there is an event, there is a cost or an economic impact associated with it. St. Patrick’s Day comes every year on March 17, and 24/7 Wall St. wanted to see what sort of economic footprint there is around St. Patrick’s Day. One thing that is unique about St. Patrick’s Day versus other holidays is that it is truly a geographic holiday. Outside of Ireland, the United States, and Canada, finding a St. Patrick’s Day party requires finding a rare Irish pub here and there.

First off, there are a few public figures we have taken to get here. The Census claims that nearly 35 million Americans claim Irish descent. The National Retail Federation uses BIGinsight to create a value for St. Patrick’s Day and it projects that some 133 million Americans alone will have total spending of about $4.7 billion for St. Patrick’s Day in 2013. Each and every time we look at these studies, we always find more dollars spent than just what is recorded normally.

Almost all cities observed the St. Patrick’s Day parades and festivities on Saturday due to religious observations. Here were some other interesting factoids about St. Patrick’s Day:

  • The Chamber of Commerce in Dublin, Ireland was hoping that St. Patrick’s Day weekend will give city businesses a boost of about $65 million after converting currencies from the euro.
  • NYC had estimates as high as 2 million at its 252nd St. Patrick’s Day parade.
  • Some 84.2% of the 133.7 million Americans celebrating St. Patrick’s Day are expected to wear green.
  • Chicago dyes its river green, and it only takes about 40 or so pounds of green vegetable dye.
  • According to the NRF data, 19.5% of consumers who plan to celebrate this year will attend a private party and 27.4% will attend a party at a bar or restaurant.
  • Census shows that the value of U.S. imports of beer made from malt increased in March from $288,073,597 in February 2012 to $374,076,005 in March 2012, then back down to $334,769,134 in April.

And don’t forget to mind your Ps. and Q’s….

  • Guinness, the Dublin-based brewer and part of Diageo PLC (NYSE: DEO), expects approximately 13 million glasses of its stout to be drunk across the world on Sunday alone.
  • George Killian’s Irish Red Beer is part of Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP).
  • Diageo PLC (NYSE: DEO) also has St. Patrick’s and Irish favorites such as Bushmill’s, Harp Lager, and Baileys Irish Cream.
  • Beam Inc. (NYSE: BEAM) has Kilbeggan, Connemara, Tyrconnell, Greenore, and 2 GINGERS as far as Irish whiskey brands.
  • Boston Beer Co. Inc. (NYSE: SAM) has its Samuel Adams Irish Red in its Brewmasters Collection.

Read Also: States That Drink The Most Beer

Now, here are some things to ask further about the costs and figures. How much gets spent on new green shirts (or hats) each March ahead of and on the day of St. Patrick’s Day? How many workers are going to “call in sick” and miss work or be late (and what does that cost)? How much in revenues do cities make off of Driving While Intoxicated fines (and public intoxication)? With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Sunday, how many more pints were served from Friday to Sunday compared to normal? And what about taxi cabs, and the surge in late-night meals to avoid as bad of a hangover? What about all the parking fees generated by parade-watchers driving their families in to see the parade? And what about their gasoline or public transportation costs to get there?

Read Also: Nine Beers Americans No Longer Drink

The National Retail Federation just does not add up all the other non-core costs even for just say 1 or 2 million of the die-hard St. Patrick’s Day fans. Start tallying up all the other costs just based upon the secondary and tertiary items. The real cost goes way beyond what the NRF projects. The sum of $4.7 billion sounds very high, but if you add on the other things that the NRF doesn’t consider then the tally has to rise well above $5 billion.

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