1 in 5 Americans Inclined to Drink at Lunch. But Who Has Time for Lunch?

By Kirk Maltais 07/08/11

The era of the three-martini lunch is definitely over. Beer, on the other hand...

zero drink lunch.jpg
Blitzed Out Businessmen: On the Ropes
Photo via thinkstockphotos

According to a new survey from Italian booze-purveyors Birra Moretti, 20 percent of Americans are “inclined” to order alcoholic drinks during their lunch breaks. “Inclined,” meaning that they don’t necessarily drink during their breaks, but they won’t necessarily rule it out. This little crack of sunlight explains why Birra Moretti is interested in compiling these numbers. The Heineken-owned company is in the midst of promoting a series of pop-up cafes in New York City, which will serve four-course Italian meals and—you guessed it—many beers. Naturally, the company would like to probe American drinking habits in advance, since they are somewhat different from Italian attitudes. According to the survey, more than twice as many Italians—48%—are “inclined” to order alcohol during their lunch breaks.

Where this survey really gets interesting is in its tally of how many Americans take lunch breaks at all. According to the numbers, 45% of Americans take a 16-30 minute lunch break. Meanwhile, 25% barely manage a lunch break, either taking 1-15 minutes or none at all—a behavior that could only horrify the Italians. A scant 18% of Americans take a longer lunch break, ranging from 45 minutes to more than an hour, and they seem to be the only ones in the right time frame, not to mention frame of mind, for consuming a few drinks. How things have changed. Could it be that Birra Moretti will have a tough time transcending the new Puritanism of the workplace; the American attitude of work before play, and nary the twain shall meet? It may be that the attitudes of American companies toward drinking during lunch breaks may not match up with the aims of the Italian brew masters. The European mentality may not translate into sales when confronted with the new realities of the American workplace.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Kirk Maltais.jpg

Kirk Maltais is a New York-based reporter.  Find out more about him on Linkedin and Twitter.