Midday Drinking

Mid-Morning Margaritas? 37 million Americans drank alcohol before midday during the pandemic, reveals poll.

An unofficial rule among drinkers is that it’s acceptable to have your first alcoholic drink at 5pm – no earlier. A common assumption is that this unspoken rule was inspired by the 9-to-5 work schedule, marking the end of the traditional workday and the beginning of ‘happy hour’. Another popular catchphrase among modern-day drinkers is one many are familiar with as an excuse to drink at any time of day – the proclamation, ’It’s five o’clock somewhere’ is a cheeky re-interpretation of when it’s acceptable to have your first drink and could be used to shake off judgements when it comes to day drinking. It appears many Americans have been putting this well-worn phrase to practice. In a year like no other, things that would have only happened occasionally in pre-pandemic times, such as day drinking, have now become more commonplace.

AlcoholRehab.com conducted a survey of 3,100 drinkers (aged 21+) and found that 1 in 5 Americans admit to drinking alcohol before midday since the beginning of the pandemic. This equates to over 37 million Americans.

Broken down across states, Nebraskans were most guilty of pre-midday drinking with 27% (392,628) of its population saying this has been the case since the start of the pandemic. West Virginians, on the other hand, were the least likely to have cracked one open before midday, with a still sizable 85,955 (owing to its large population) or 6% admitting to this habit.

Midday drinking

Though the survey found that 15% of people say they’re more likely to start drinking earlier in the day since the start of the pandemic, 39% said they would be open and honest about this habit. This might include not speaking about it with friends and family – perhaps out of shame or fear of judgement.

Interestingly, more than 1 in 10 (13%) respondents believe it’s more acceptable to smoke marijuana in the morning than it is to drink alcohol in the early hours. This could be due to the lack of hangover associated with cannabis consumption.

More than 1 in 10 (15%) people admit they look forward to special occasions, like birthdays as an excuse to drink alcohol earlier in the day.

As we approach summer, it seems many will be bending their own personal drinking rules – nearly half (47%) of those who claim that they never drink before midday say they are likely to break this rule during an upcoming summer vacation.

Finally, a healthy majority (63%) say they would be concerned with and would approach a family member or friend who they noticed drinking alcohol in the early hours of the day.

*Based on Census state populations: https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/popest/2010s-state-detail.html#par_textimage_785300169