St. Patrick’s Day’s first green beer has an unsettling history


Thankfully, the technology that turns beer green has been updated.

It’s customary on St. Patrick’s Day to not just celebrate with a beer, but to have a drink that’s been dyed green. While this may be commonplace nowadays, the history of green beer is more complicated than most may think.

The tradition of drinking green beer was started by a man named Dr. Thomas Hayes Curtin in 1914, Irish Central reports. Curtin, an Irish immigrant, worked professionally as a coroner in New York City at the time.

The tradition of drinking green beer was started by a man named Dr. Thomas Hayes Curtin in 1914.

The tradition of drinking green beer was started by a man named Dr. Thomas Hayes Curtin in 1914.
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According to the story, he first unveiled his green beer at the Bronx social club. A witness reportedly said that when the beer was unveiled, everything at the club was decorated green and that Irish songs were sung. The only thing that wasn’t green, apparently, was the glass the beer was served in.

At the time, the doctor would apparently only admit to adding a drop of “wash blue” to an unspecified amount of beer in order to turn it green. It was eventually revealed, however, that the “wash blue” was actually an iron powder solution used to wash laundry. Also, this substance was technically poisonous to humans.

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Fortunately, technology has since advanced far enough that everyone can enjoy a green-colored beer without ingesting iron poison. According to Betty Crocker, making green beer is as simple as putting several drops of green liquid food coloring in a glass and then adding the beer.

The cooking website cautions that it’s important to put the food coloring in the glass first to correctly color the booze, however.



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