St. Pat’s Showdown: Booze Brands Get Creative

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, beer and liquor brands are gearing up for a showdown to see who can win consumers’ boozy spending, and the methods are getting unconventional. From ancestry revelations to charm necklaces, alcoholic beverage brands are looking beyond the pint glass to get shoppers’ attention. 

The Emerald Isle beer brand perhaps most synonymous with the Irish holiday, Guinness, is looking to drive loyalty by illuminating customers’ historic connections to the company. It recently announced a partnership with Ancestry, with the latter digitizing more than 1.6 million historical records from the Guinness Storehouse Archives to enable consumers to see if they have a family connection to the brand, offering access to ancestors’ job titles, home addresses and more. 

The news release touts that these records span periods when the company was the “largest single private employer” in the Land of Saints and Scholars.

“Guinness is at the heart of Irish history, making our partnership with Ancestry a truly special moment in time,” Eibhlin Colgan, archive manager at Guinness Storehouse, said in a statement. “We’re a brand with a history that dates back over 260 years and has seen countless generations of families employed at the St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin since Arthur Guinness Sr. first signed his 9,000-year lease back in 1759.”

As Guinness looks to deepen consumers’ connection to the brand by offering historical and familial context, Jameson Irish Whiskey is turning to digital media to generate customer enthusiasm. The brand shared that it is hosting a digital event for an invented holiday, “St. Patrick’s Eve,” with content hosted by “Saturday Night Live’s” Colin Jost and Michael Che. 

Another whiskey brand looking to generate enthusiasm and engagement by hosting themed events is Roe & Co Irish Whiskey, owned by Guinness parent company Diageo. The brand is engaging consumers in New York City with vinyl listening sessions at record stores focused on Irish music. 

“For Roe & Co, as St. Patrick’s Day celebrations continue to evolve, Irish Whiskey and music share a timeless allure that transcends generations,” Lora Hemy, head distiller at Roe & Co Distillery in Dublin, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Baileys Irish Cream Liqueur, another Diageo subsidiary, is getting into accessories, looking to drum up brand affinity with themed charms. The company recently partnered with jewelry brand Ian Charms to release an exclusive charm collaboration, the Baileys x Ian Charms Necklace & Cocktail Charms Set, for consumers to match their drinks.

These moves come as consumers continue to find room in their budgets to splurge on fun, boozy experiences, even as they tighten their belts in some areas.

The PYMNTS Intelligence study “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report: The Nonessential Spending Deep Dive Edition,” created in collaboration with LendingClub, which drew from a census-balanced survey of more than 3,400 U.S. consumers, revealed, for instance, that 34% had spent indulgently on food from a table-service restaurant in the previous month. Plus, between eight and nine out of 10 consumers (depending on income bracket) and spent money at bars and restaurants in that period.