St. Patricks Day in the shadow of COVID-19: Two Green Rivers and a Guinness

St. Patricks Day in the shadow of COVID-19: Two Green Rivers and a Guinness

Chicago, the city named the #1 place to celebrate St. Patricks Day will be taking things a little slower today as our new normal has shut down many of our decades old traditions–not to mention restaurants and bars.

Dyeing the River Green

One of our most famous traditions, dyeing the Chicago River green, sadly has been “postponed” this year. At this point all we can do is wait and see if it will be rescheduled for 2020 and take a look at how it all got started:

The tradition dates back to 1961 when Stephen Bailey, Business Manager of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union #110, spotted a plumber wearing coveralls that were stained a brilliant green by the dye used to detect leaks in the Chicago River. When Bailey, who was making plans for that year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, saw the plumber he got the brainstorm to dye the Chicago River green…and the rest is history.

The Other Green River

The other “Green River,” Green River soda is even older. Green River soda came on the scene in 1919–about the same time that Congress was passing the 18th Amendment establishing Prohibition.  It seems that the Schoenhofen Edelweiss Brewing Company, located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood (18th and Canalport), was looking for something to do with their empty bottles left wanting after Prohibition became law.  The answer was Green River–a sweet lime-based soda that screamed “look at me”…with its’ vivid neon green color.

Green River quickly became a hit. In fact, it was so popular that by 1933, it was second only to Coca Cola in consumption.

Once, Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Schoenhofen Brewing put Green River soda on a back burner, concentrating their efforts on the production of alcoholic beverages. The brewery eventually closed completely in 1950.  Even so, Green River soda retained it’s popularity at many corner drugstore fountains and drive-in movies throughout the 1960s.

Then, seemingly, the soda went a way for a while but now you can find it everywhere from your local Target to Mariano’s.

Green River soda is good way to toast to an alcohol free St. Patricks Day–which by the way was the way the day was celebrated for many years.

Guinness: ‘Good things come to those who wait’ 

Maybe this year more than ever the Guinness slogan, Good things come to those who wait (referring to the proper way to pour the beer), makes perfect sense.

Guinness that’s been around since 1759 is a St. Paddy’s Day tradition for many and is still available at supermarkets and liquor stores. Just make sure you know the proper pour.

Even if you won’t be drinking Guinness with your corned beef and cabbage–hopefully this video will add a little Irish spirit to your day,

Subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email

If you would like to keep in touch with what’s happening in Chicago, like us on Facebook or subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email. To subscribe, type your email address in the box below and click the “create subscription” button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Filed under: St. Patrick's Day.

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Meet The Blogger

    Carole Kuhrt Brewer

    Arts, entertainment and dining journalist..

  • Follow me on Twitter.

  • Recent posts

  • Categories

  • Advertisement: