How “Irish” is your city?

Because we’re based in Boston, we here at BevSpot take our St. Patrick’s Day drinking very seriously. So seriously that, in celebration of this auspicious day, we wanted to see how other American cities fare at getting their Irish on. We did this by comparing their consumption of a go-to St. Patrick’s Day beverage: Guinness.

My favorite food from my homeland is Guinness. My second choice is Guinness. My third choice — would have to be Guinness.” — Peter O’Toole

Guinness has been a staple of St. Patrick’s Day drinking for almost as long as it’s existed. First brewed in Dublin’s St. James’ Gate Brewery in 1759, it’s generally considered a staple of Irish cuisine by most Irishmen and women. It’s known globally for its iconic dark color and thick, creamy texture. And with sales in over 120 countries, it’s one of the most successful beer brands internationally and easily the best-selling alcoholic drink in Ireland proper.

We were curious to see how Guinness actually performs amongst our users. Let’s break down the performance of this historic beer.

The following material aggregates 2016 and early 2017 on-premise beer order data from about 300 BevSpot users across ten major metro areas. All figures represent percentages of orders in dollar terms.

 


Guinness ranked highly among Boston and New York BevSpot users—it got right around 3.5% of beer orders in both cities.

It’s not really surprising that Boston and New York top the city rankings in Guinness orders, given the higher concentrations of people of Irish descent in these northeastern cities. Guinness’ low performances in Miami and Houston also line up with expectations, as they have some of the lowest urban concentrations of Irish-Americans in the country.

However, it’s interesting to note Guinness’ beer market share in Boston and New York within the context of competition with other mass-market beer brands, as well as the insurgence of many local craft beers. As we noted in our trends report on Boston beer orders, Guinness still stands out as a major player in the Boston market despite the continued growth of the craft beer movement.

It was also shocking to see how highly cities like Atlanta and Los Angeles ranked in Guinness orders, with almost 2.5% and just over 2.0% of beer orders respectively.

Why is this the case? It might be that the national craft beer movement might not be as influential for our users in Atlanta and LA, allowing mass-market brands like Guinness to retain a significant foothold despite the lack of a local Irish population. The need of a well-rounded beer program for a porter or stout could also explain this, as there is a general lack of craft porters and stouts in these markets to compete with Guinness.

What’s your theory? Let’s discuss in the comments below over a pint of our favorite stout. And be sure to subscribe to the blog for the latest in local BevSpot data-powered articles.

2016-annual-cta

2 comments so far... Add your thoughts?
  1. My theory: people in LA have to drive home, so it’s less common to have more than a couple beers on-premises, especially with a meal. This favors porters and stouts, which you don’t tend to drink a ton of in one session, and which are more favored as pairings with food. When you’re looking at brands as a proportion of the beer market, that skews the results towards Guinness.

  2. I like Stephen’s comments above — they make sense. I would have to know more about the statistical relevance of a Chicago at 2% vs. an Atlanta at 2.4%. It’s clear the Northeast has strong cultural heritage with high concentrations of Irish — so the higher Boston and New York on premise stats look right. But here’s what I would do if I was adopted by the Guinness family. I’d remind the world there is ‘nothing’ that compares to a pint of Guinness — especially on tap. The proper pour, the history of the draught, the silky taste, and the right way to bear down into a pint — immediately taking in the first third, and never sipping into it. Their challenge isn’t with their core consumers, but rather Millennials and Gen Z that are inundated and distracted with craft beers. With the drinking age at 21, most young adults have sampled 20 to 30 brands and have developed preferences well before their 21st birthday, well before their first proper pint of Guinness. I believe the nitro pint (draught) sold in grocery is a nice alternative, however, the experience from the tap, from the source, is a must for new consumers. Hence, Guinness should own the right of passage, to adulthood, to turning 21, and offer all those (and of legal drinking age in their party), a free and proper pint of Guinness on their 21st birthday. And it’s not even about ‘branding’ them for life — it’s about doing the right thing and introducing them properly to the best beer in the world — the right of passage!

Your Thoughts?