St. Patrick’s Day by the Numbers


St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, the day when people of Irish descent (and many others) celebrate St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who lived in the fifth century and represents the strength and resilience of the Irish people.

Read: Obscure March Holidays You Can Celebrate on a Budget

Though the pandemic has nixed the traditional parades, featuring bagpipes and kilt-wearing folk, people have still found safe, smaller ways to celebrate. This includes wearing green, a nod to one of the colors in the Irish flag that represents Irish nationalism; making a meal of corned beef and cabbage, the traditional meal is actually bacon and cabbage, but it was hard to come by when Irish immigrants first came to the U.S.; dyeing the Chicago River green; and drinking Irish beer, because why not! Here we look at some of the key numbers related to this age-old celebration:

Expected Spend in 2021

Despite restrictions on gatherings due to the pandemic, people still plan to spend their money on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. According to a National Retail Federation 2021 St. Patrick’s Day survey, the average person will spend $40.77 per person on their celebrations, and overall Americans will spend about $5.14 billion on the holiday. This is less than 2019’s $5.6 billion and 2018’s $5.9 billion.

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Market Value of a Leprechaun’s Pot of Gold

Leprechauns, the wee folk pictured often as little men with tiny hats, beards and teasing a pot of gold, are associated with Irish folklore. Originally known as “lobaircin,” which means “small-bodied fellow” according to, they have been drawn into the holiday as a fun way of engaging children to celebrate. If a leprechaun’s pot of gold were real, it would be worth quite a lot indeed. The price of gold as of March 15 was around $1,730 per ounce. An average gold coin would be about 1 ounce. Mental Floss assessed that a pot of gold was worth about $1.258 million back in 2015. Today it would be worth even more.

See: How To Invest In Gold

Importance to US Bars and Restaurants, Pre-Pandemic

Pre-pandemic, restaurants and bars looked forward to St. Patrick’s Day to boost sales. According to a recent NielsenIQ analysis, St. Patrick’s Day has actually been the highest-grossing day of the year for U.S. bars and restaurants. In 2018, beer sales grew 174% on St. Patrick’s Day, and spirits sales rose 153%. Moreover, one-third of the 15,000 U.S. consumers surveyed said they visit a bar/restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day.

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See: A Look at How We’ve Been Spending on Alcohol During COVID-19

Price of Cabbage in 2021

A traditional meal associated with St. Patrick’s Day is corned beef and cabbage. In Ireland, the dish is actually a form of boiled bacon and cabbage, but Irish immigrants couldn’t afford bacon when they first came to the U.S., according to Delish magazine. There are three main types of cabbage: green, red and Savoy. Most people associate the green cabbage with this holiday, most likely because it was the cheapest vegetable for lower-income Irish folks to purchase. Fortunately, this veggie isn’t terribly expensive in the U.S., either.

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Currently, you can purchase a green head of cabbage for under $3 from numerous sources. Spend $1.74 for a head of green cabbage at Walmart, or buy a mixture of shredded red and green cabbage from Trader Joe’s for $2.49.

Beer Sales for 2021

Perhaps more than any other holiday, St. Patrick’s Day inspires people to drink beer — often Irish beer — which is a boon for beer sales. It’s hard to say how much consumers will spend on beer exactly this year, but if 2020 is any indicator, even in a pandemic, St. Paddy’s Day celebrants drank more than 13 million pints of Guinness alone, according to WalletHub!

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More: Here’s How Much Restaurants Mark Up Your Food

In 2020, beer sales also increased by 20% from the previous weekend, according to Nielsen, so chances are good for a repeat.

Currently, you can purchase a six-pack of Guinness Extra Stout at Bevmo for $9.99 (a sale price), or a four-pack Murphy’s Irish Stout for $7.99 through Drizly. Sláinte!

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Last updated: March 17, 2021

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About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.

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