What Time Texans Think Its OK To Start Day Drinking | Dallas Observer

Study Reveals What Time Texans Start Day Drinking, and It's Earlier Than You Think

"It's 5 o'clock somewhere." Or is it? A new study on day drinking reveals that the age-old saying might be in need of an update.
Texans are popping bottles earlier in the day. Should we raise a glass with them or raise concerns?
Texans are popping bottles earlier in the day. Should we raise a glass with them or raise concerns? Canva
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“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” is a widely used justification for having a drink or two in the middle of the day. A new study on day drinking has given us an updated time to slot into that expression, and the good news (for day drinkers, that is) is that it’s a few hours earlier.

According to Zinnia Health, the average Texan believes that 2:36 p.m. is an acceptable time for the first drink of the day. This is four minutes later than the national average. North Dakotans and Montanans showed the most restraint in the study, with an average answer of 4:30 p.m. Wyoming, on the other hand, is ready to get the party started at noon.

The study goes on to break down public opinion by situation. Of the 3,000 surveyed, over a third said that weekends and holidays were a judgment-free zone. More than a quarter said that wine and beer were acceptable earlier in the day than hard liquor. Another third said that warmer weather might compel them to pour a drink earlier in the day.

Interestingly, 44% of respondents stated that they would approach a loved one who they noticed regularly drinking before 5 p.m. The study’s conclusion paints the statistics as showing earlier drinking times as alarming.

“Regularly consuming alcohol before 5 p.m. can be a slippery slope towards unhealthy drinking habits and alcohol dependence,” said Rebecca Hill of Zinnia Health in a statement to the press. “The normalization of daytime drinking in social contexts may make it more challenging for those struggling with alcohol abuse to seek help, as they may feel that their behavior is socially acceptable.”

While it is imperative that alcohol abuse isn’t viewed as normal, that 5 p.m. cut-off time raises some questions. We’re assuming it’s used as an example here (and in that old day-drinker’s adage) because it’s typically seen as the end of the workday and the beginning of an evening all to yourself.

But that’s not true for everyone.

A Long Night's Day

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Top 10 most common jobs held by Texans don’t fall within the classic 9-to-5 schedule. Registered nurses, for example, come in eighth place. Nurses work long and often unusual shifts. We can imagine a nurse clocking out over a grueling overnight shift and wanting a drink at 8 a.m.

Customer-facing jobs such as cashiers and fast food workers make up much of the Top 10. This is another line of work with inconsistent hours. If we’re going by the logic that the end of the workday is an acceptable time to start drinking, this group’s “5 o’clock” is likely all over the place. If you’re working the breakfast shift at a drive-through and get off at noon, that’s your 5 o’clock. Cheers!

It’s not just the job landscape contributing to this. The ways we go out and drink are shifting as well. Brunch as a go-to social outing is more prevalent than ever and, according to some studies, is here to stay. A report from Square revealed that spending on food and beverages is now peaking on Saturday during brunch hours. The previous record-holder was Friday at lunchtime.

Is it possible that some of the pro-day-drinking respondents to the survey were thinking of mimosas and bloody marys more than of shots of tequila at the bar?

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention airport bars. The only time that matters in an airport is the time your flight takes off. If you have a full day of flying and jet lag ahead of you, you deserve a drink regardless of where it’s 5 o’clock.

With this context taken into account, the average Texan's acceptable time to start drinking makes sense. We may always encourage responsible drinking habits, but we don’t think time of day necessarily factors into what should be viewed as responsible.

Next time you’re out for lunch and you see someone having a cocktail, no need to judge. Mostly because it’s rude, but party because (according to the Zinnia Health study) there’s a 17% chance that the day drinker will respond to your disapproving glance by nonchalantly raising their glass and taking another sip.

We’ll have what those people are having. After all, it's 2:36 p.m. somewhere.
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