Kahlua Hijacks St. Patrick's Day, Telling Revelers to Swap Stout for Espresso Martinis

The campaign spotlights another dark and creamy drink with posters and vans outside Irish bars

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Irish stout is one of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day drinks, with WalletHub finding that 13 million pints are consumed worldwide on March 17—819% more than a typical day. But Kahlúa is urging revelers craving a rich drink to rethink their beer order and opt for an espresso martini instead.

The “Feliz St. Patrick’s Day” commercial, created by agency Wieden+Kennedy London, tapped Oscar-nominated director Michael Lennox, known for his work on the Northern Irish TV series Derry Girls. The ad stars Irish TikTok father-son duo Tadhg and Derry Fleming, and pokes fun at many of the tropes surrounding Ireland and the holiday.

Derry steps up to the bar in a classic Irish pub and orders his usual from Tadhg. The film focuses on the dark liquid hitting the glass, building anticipation for a pint of Guinness, the typical drink of St. Patrick’s Day. But everyone looks aghast when it turns out he’s celebrating with another black and creamy drink—an espresso martini.

There’s even a painting of a toucan with its mouth agape, a nod to the Guinness mascot. As Derry sips his drink with satisfaction, everyone else raises their pints and the party continues.

The campaign will run across the U.S., U.K. and Ireland. Kahlúa kicked off the activity with a wrap on the March 13 issue of British newspaper The Evening Standard, as well as posters and vans outside Irish bars in the U.K. and Ireland.

Meanwhile, the Dirty Martini St Paul’s bar in London is offering two-for-one espresso martinis Thursday through Sunday and giving away mini pint glasses for those looking to drink their cocktails on the sly.

Kahlua-branded St. Patrick's Day van
A van appeared outside Irish bars to promote the campaign.Kahlua, Wieden+Kennedy London

The film will run on Kahlúa’s Instagram and YouTube channels and extend through social media with more videos from the Flemings, as well as former Irish rugby player Rory Best and Ian Ryan, author of A Beautiful Pint: One Man’s Search for the Perfect Pint of Guinness.

Kahlua mini pint glasses
Mini pint glasses allow drinkers to disguise their espresso martini.Kahlua, Wieden+Kennedy London

“Ultimately, we want everyone to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in their own way with whatever drink they desire,” Kahlúa global vice president of marketing Craig van Niekerk said in a statement. “Whether that’s a pint of stout, a dazzling espresso martini or just a tall glass of water, it’s each to their own, right? We say salud and sláinte to everyone, no matter what drink you fancy.”

The campaign is the latest iteration of the “Stir Up” platform that Kahlúa launched in November, which captures the dramatic nature of the brand. In that spot, Salma Hayek burst into a dinner party to push espresso martinis as an alternative to wine.

“One minute we’re kicking down doors with a movie star; the next we’re coming for stout’s spotlight on St. Patrick’s Day,” Wieden+Kennedy London creative directors Philippa Beaumont and Freddy Taylor said in a statement. “Who knows where Kahlúa will take us next, but we’re excited to stir more things up.”