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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in East TN

Old Tennessee Distilling Company / Events  / Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in East TN
Happy St. Patricks's Day with green background

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in East TN

While many of us think of prancing leprechauns, lucky three-leafed clovers, and copious amounts of beer drinking during St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, do you know the day’s true origins? It may surprise you, but St. Paddy’s day was initially a Catholic feast day, first observed in seventeenth-century Ireland in honor of St. Patrick, Ireland’s patron saint credited with bringing Christianity to the country. Fast-forward one hundred years later, the festival became very popular with Christians observing Lent. It gave them a brief respite from the fasting and sobriety leading up to Easter. Can you blame them?

But how did St. Patrick’s day eventually explode into the seas of green, pints of Guinness, and big parades it is today? In contrast to what we might think, many St. Paddy’s Day traditions we celebrate are not from Ireland; they were created here in America. 

It’s true! The first St. Patrick’s Day parade occurred in New York in 1762 when a large gathering of Irish men in the British army marched through Lower Manhattan. This tradition continues today and spouted Irish-themed parades and parties across the country. 

And the traditional emerald green? That only came into use in 1798 as, following the Irish Rebellion, Irish people took to wearing green (a color previously banned in Ireland) in opposition to Britain’s red. This shifted the colors of St. Patrick from the traditional royal, religious blue to the colors we recognize today. 

How is St. Patrick’s Day Celebrated in Ireland?

These days, people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day across the globe. In Ireland, rivers and drinks aren’t dyed green, but buildings tend to be lit with an emerald hue, and family and friends gather to listen to live music, enjoy traditional Irish food, and of course, good old Irish drinks. 

In Dublin, sports matches such as Gaelic football and hurling – an ancient Gaelic game that is still extremely popular – are played for massive crowds. Parades, carnivals, and Irish dancing take place across the island. 

The traditional St. Patrick’s Day tipple is usually Guinness (also not dyed green in Ireland) or whiskey. So in keeping with the festivities, Old Tennessee Distilling has created its own Irish-inspired St Patrick’s Day cocktail that you can make quickly and easily at home. So let’s get this St. Paddy’s day party started!


Tumbler of whiskey


  • 1.5 oz. Butterscotch Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Old Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Ice 

Fill your favorite tumbler with ice blocks, add the whiskey, followed by the Butterscotch Liqueur. Stir well, and toast your friend’s health in Irish, Sláinte!

Enjoy St. Paddy’s Day in East Tennessee

If you’d like to join in true East Tennessee style, several regional events will keep you entertained throughout the week. Admire the themed lights at the Galinberg Sky Lift Park and the Space Needle. Or join a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl – a different kind of parade! Join the fun, watch the St. Patrick’s parade in Knoxville, or celebrate the Emerald Isle at The Island in Pigeon Forge

Whichever way you celebrate St. Paddy, stop by our distillery in Kodak, TN, so we can say Sláinte to you over our famous $5 cocktails.

Kent Merritt

Gatlinburg native Kent Merrit oversees the behind-the-scenes operations at Old Tennessee Distilling Company. He has over 35 years of manufacturing and business management experience and is passionate about developing and promoting businesses with exceptional products and excellent customer service. He invites you to pop in at Old Tennessee Distilling Co. for a free tasting of moonshine and distilled spirits. "Take a moment, take a sip, and get a taste for Tennessee."

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