St Patrick's Day: raise a glass to the saint

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: St patrick, Ireland, Republic of ireland, Great britain

March is an eagerly anticipated month for licensees in Great Britain, and indeed around the world, as with it comes one of the most well established...

March is an eagerly anticipated month for licensees in Great Britain, and indeed around the world, as with it comes one of the most well established on-trade celebration occasions - the St Patrick's Day party. As March 17 falls on a Saturday this year, it provides a 'craicing' opportunity for licensees to increase footfall and sales.

Over the centuries, St Patrick's Day has become a global celebration of Irish culture and heritage. St Patrick, originally born in Wales in 385AD, was responsible for spreading the word of early Christianity in Ireland until his death on March 17, 461. A quirky myth about St Patrick is that he drove the snakes out of Ireland and into the sea where they all drowned. The date of his death has been commemorated as St Patrick's Day ever since.

Today, millions of people of Irish descent all over the world celebrate their heritage with parades and celebrations across the UK, in mainland Europe, the US, the Caribbean and as far afield as Russia and the Far East.

Guinness, with its proud, almost 250-year long Irish heritage, has become synonymous with St Patrick's Day and, indeed, there are few public festivals so closely associated with one product.

More than 13 million pints of the black stuff are expected to be enjoyed around the world on March 17 this year. As more than five million of these will be in the UK, there is real potential for licensees to capitalise on this sales opportunity. Consumers from all backgrounds will meet friends in a favourite pub or bar and enjoy a drink.

To ensure you make the most of the St Patrick's Day weekend this year, plan and pre-promote your outlet's party early. Think about how you can increase the number of people that choose your outlet for their celebrations by offering a point of difference, such as Irish bands and music, Irish quizzes or Irish food.

The RBS Six Nations rugby tournament culminates on March 17 with three great games scheduled, and the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the day before, so outlets with screens should advertise they are showing live rugby and racing.

It is anticipated that Guinness sales will increase up to 500 per cent over St Patrick's Day, and the very best way to get your share of the profits is to ensure you consistently serve great-looking, great tasting pints of Dublin-brewed Guinness, using the two-part pour.

Take a clean, dry and cool tulip glass at a 45° angle and pull the tap towards you until the glass is three-quarters full. Allow the Guinness to settle and then fill to the top of the glass, pushing the tap towards the customer. Ensure a consistent head size of 10 to 15mm.

The very best of (Irish) luck to each and every one of you for March 17 - enjoy the day and enjoy the uplift in sales!

Russell Jones is Guinness marketing director for Diageo GB

Related topics: Events & Occasions, Beer

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