My Goodness, My Guinness!

St. Patrick’s day is an opportunity to celebrate Irish heritage in a variety of ways — whether by wearing green, watching a parade, or enjoying a variety of Irish beers. Of the Irish beers consumed on St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness, the popular Irish stout, traditionally leads the pack. According to WalletHub, over 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed on St. Patrick’s Day in 2015.

So do states with the higher Irish populations drink more Guinness? Over at Rhiza, we decided to celebrate the holiday by finding out. According to the U.S. Census Report, nine of the top 10 states with the largest Irish-American population are in the northeast. Massachusetts ranked number one with 22.5% of the state’s population having identified as having an Irish ethnic origin.

Using Simmons Local survey data, we were able to generate visualizations that display the percentage of survey respondents who self-identified as Guinness drinkers. So is Massachusetts also number one in terms of Guinness consumers?

Figure 1
Figure 1: Who drinks Guinness the most – Northeast states

Interestingly enough, despite ranking 6th in Irish-American population, Vermont lands the number one spot for Guinness enthusiasts with a 4.7% of surveyed respondents claiming to enjoy the Irish stout. This is not only the highest percentage in the northeast, but also the highest across the country. Massachusetts is close behind with a 4.4%.
Based on Figure 1, it is definitely clear that there is a direct correlation between regions with a high Irish-American population and those who claim to enjoy Guinness, as the northeast leads the nation in both.

So how does the rest of the nation stack-up?

Figure 2
Figure 2: Who drinks Guinness the most – Midwest states

In second place is the midwest with the top three Guinness drinking states being the northern most: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. An interesting pattern that is evident by the first two figures is that the percentage Guinness drinkers decreases as we move south. It’ll be interesting to see if that continues.

Figure 3
Figure 3: Who drinks Guinness the most – West Coast

As we can see in this figure, Guinness isn’t as popular on the west coast as it is on the east coast, and there is generally a smaller Irish population present in these states as well. However, Colorado possesses a fairly high percentage despite ranking 17th on the Irish population list.

Figure 4
Figure 4: Who drinks Guinness the most – Southern States

Home to both the smallest Irish population and fewest Guinness fans is the south. The biggest Guinness drinking state is Florida with a 2.8%; however, it is also true that Florida is home to many transplants from the north.

Based on the survey data, we can definitely confirm that Irish-Americans enjoy Guinness, and maybe even assume there is a direct correlation between Irish populations and Guinness consumption, and since the majority of Irish-Americans live in the north, Guinness drinkers in the south are a bit more sparse.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!