Boozy break: These states buy the most alcohol at lunch, study finds

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(NEXSTAR) – You’ve likely heard the phrase, “It’s five o’clock somewhere,” usually from someone trying to justify having an alcoholic beverage before five o’clock. A recent survey found that might be especially true for residents in one state around lunchtime. 

Restaurant management software company Toast recently reviewed transactions nationwide to determine how Americans, many of whom are returning to in-office work for the first time since the COVID pandemic, treat lunchtime. 

Among the lunchtime trends Toast found was a specific behavior: buying alcoholic beverages at lunchtime. 

It wasn’t a behavior limited to one state or a specific region of the U.S. Overall, Toast found that, on average, 16% of the items on Americans’ lunch bills during the first quarter of 2023 were alcoholic beverages. 

Two metro areas tied for having the highest percentage of alcohol purchases during weekday lunch hours: Milwaukee and Denver. In both cities, 26% of the items bought during an average lunch at restaurants using Toast’s platform were alcoholic drinks. 

In Wisconsin, 30% of the items on an average lunch check were alcohol, nearly twice as much as the national average, Toast determined. No state bought as much, though Hawaii came close at 28%. 

In only five states was that rate at 25% or more: Wisconsin and Hawaii, as well as Wyoming (27%), Colorado (26%), and Vermont (25%). Oregon and Florida fell just short at 24%. 

As Toast noted, Wisconsin consistently ranks among states with the highest percentage of adults currently drinking alcohol. Wisconsin has also been found to have some of the most excessive drinkers in the nation. 

There are just a handful of states in which alcoholic beverages made up less than 10% of the average lunch bill: Arkansas and New York were the lowest at 8%, followed closely by New Jersey and Utah at 9%. 

Unlike Wisconsin, Utah has frequently had the fewest excessive drinkers in the nation. The same can’t exactly be said for Arkansas, New Jersey, and New York.

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