“BIGGER than Christmas” is how Bernie O’Keeffe describes St Patrick’s Day.
Nanjing Night Net

But today the Terang resident has extra reason to celebrate, clocking up a personal milestone when he drinks his 3000th pint of Guinness at Warrnambool’s Seanchai Hotel.

“It started as a bit of a hobby back in 1998,” Mr O’Keeffe told The Standard during his regular Thursday afternoon visit to the hotel.

“I come down on the train from Terang every week and have a few pints before darts.

“It helps me throw a bit straighter,” he joked.

“And sometimes I come down on a Sunday for the Irish session as well, which helps boost the numbers a bit.”

Mr O’Keeffe said he passed his first Guinness milestone in 1999 when he clocked up a century of pints, one of the first to join the Seanchai’s 100-pint club.

He was also the first person to down 1000 pints at the hotel and has a plaque on the wall, near his regular spot as a permanent memento of the achievement.

Mr O’Keeffe’s feats have also been recognised by Guinness in Dublin, which has sent him out watches, clocks and other memorabilia.

And there is no chance that his count is out.

Mr O’Keeffe meticulously keeps track of all his pints in a diary, with details like the date, time ordered and time taken to drink recorded.

St Patrick’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for the Irish bar, with staff expecting to go through about five kegs of the iconic Irish stout.

Mr O’Keeffe expects to reach his latest milestone mid-afternoon and will drink the pint from a specially-printed glass.

“I’ve made them up for each of the big milestones and I’ve made one for the bar person who poured it for me each time as well.

“This year Danielle Sproules is going to pour it for me. I’m not sure if she will have a drink or not, but if she doesn’t, all it means is my 3001st pint is ready to go a bit quicker,” he said.

Seanchai licensee Roger Fitzgerald said Mr O’Keeffe was a legend around the hotel.

“The plaque on the wall is always a talking point for people coming in.

“If Bernie is around we say that’s him just over there and people go and have photos taken with him.

“We have had a lot of fun over the years.”

But when it comes to talk of reaching the 4000-pint landmark, Mr O’Keeffe is coy.

“I’ll take them a hundred at a time,” he said.

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