I’m not sure who first invented Green Beer (Budweiser + food dye), but it’s probably safe to assume he wasn’t Irish—or even Irish-American. And that is fine and dandy, because St. Patrick’s Day isn’t about Ireland or Irishness anymore. It is an American Holiday to celebrate drinking.
There is nothing wrong with this. Rather it is just another great example of the American ability to absorb a foreign culture and develop a new, better, Americanized version of it.
Most often we do this with food. When the Italians came to America they brought their pizza. Trouble was it was thin, crispy and not very filling. We took that and invented Deep-Dish, Delivery and the $5 Hot-N-Ready. We took the general idea of Chinese food and invented Stir Fry, General Tso’s and Almond Boneless Chicken—not to mention fortune cookies and those cute white carryout containers.
With the Irish, we just took a holiday. Lacking a proper drinking holiday ourselves, we simply took the Patron Saint of Ireland’s day and distilled it down to the core of any good holiday: drinking and merriment.* The new American version is far superior to Irish version, as there is no church or national remembrance component, only parades, drinking and the marketing of beer.
Which of course brings us back to Green Beer—I’m not sure who invented it. But anything this gimmicky could only have been dreamt up by a great American.
America go Brách!
*I’ve never understood why people bother with fasting holidays.