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Was St. Patrick opposed to drinking beer?

Saint Patricks Day Parade New York City

Jeffrey Bruno

Philip Kosloski - published on 03/12/24

One of the most popular traditions on St. Patrick's Day is to drink beer at a local pub. Was St. Patrick a supporter of drinking beer?

In many different countries, especially the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally a time to go out to a local bar or pub and drink lots of beer.

What would St. Patrick have said about drinking beer?

During his lifetime, St. Patrick reportedly had his ownbrewer.

According to John Healy in The Life and Writings of St. Patrick, a priest, Mescan, was his brewer:

Presbyter Mescan of Domnach Mescain at Fohain was his brewer. It does not appear from this that either Patrick or the members of his household were total abstainers and if they were to have beer at all, they could only have it by brewing it themselves. There were no great breweries and no beer shops in those days and there was no excise duty. Every chief and farmer brewed what was necessary for himself and his retainers.

At that time, beer or any alcoholic drink was not something reserved to bars or pubs, and was also more substantial.

In the Middle Ages, some monks would only drink beer during Lent.

It is very possible that St. Patrick drank a type of beer at the time, though nothing like today’s manufactured drinks.

Would St. Patrick have approved of getting drunk on his feast day?

The Bible is clear that drunkenness is a sin, which St. Patrick would have known and taught as a Christian missionary in Ireland:

Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness,idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes Catholic teaching that has been taught since the very beginning of Christianity:

The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine.

CCC 2290

While St. Patrick may have drunk his own beer during his lifetime, he would not have happy to see anyone drink alcohol in excess.

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