American Workers Spend More Than $3,000 a Year on Afterwork Drinks

It’s often a relief to knock back a drink or two after a long day at work, and as an added incentive, happy hour is usually from 4–6 p.m., coinciding perfectly with the end of the workday. After work drinks are the perfect excuse to celebrate the end of a successful project or the start of a big one. But sometimes, one drink leads to two or three, and before you know it, you’ve bought a couple rounds for the entire office. Even if you only end up having a cocktail or two, when you look at your bank statement at the end of the month, it’s the small expenses that add up to surprising figures.

As the leading provider of treatment resources and everything related to alcohol abuse and rehabilitation, Alcohol.org surveyed 3,000 workers asking how often they go out for afterwork drinks and what their average spend is. It was found that the average American worker spends $3,035 per year on afterwork drinks—that’s the equivalent of over 650 beers.

West Virginians spend the most, an average of over $4,800 per year on drinks after work, while New Hampshirites spend the least at $1,400. You can see a breakdown of how much Americans are spending on after work drinks across the country with this interactive map:

The research also found that 15% of employees would have no qualms about getting drunk in front of their boss. On the other hand, 11% of bosses say they would get drunk in front of their employees.

Perhaps surprisingly, over one-third (38%) of Americans believe after work drinks are a good way to bond and strengthen a team. This might have something to do with the relaxed nature of a restaurant or bar as compared to a stressful office environment. Employees can get to know each other on a more personal level, which can translate into working together more cohesively.

It was also revealed that after working drinking sessions last an average of 1.8 hours for most employees. Considering that a typical workday ends at 5 p.m., this means people may get home at around 7:30 p.m., which is essentially a 10.5 hour day. It’s no wonder most working professionals complain about not having enough hours in the day.

One might assume that perhaps a light beer is the best way to end a long day in the office but in fact, it was found that over 1 in 10 workers say they drink shots during afterwork drinks. This may be why 14% of respondents admitted that, on at least one occasion, they’ve acted inappropriately during afterwork drinks.

“It’s easy to fall into a routine of having a couple of drinks after a tiring day, however, it is important to ensure you are not becoming dependent on alcohol by using it as a coping mechanism,” says Joy Sutton, spokesperson for Alcohol.org. “Alcohol use disorder is more common than people realize. It’s the No. 1 reason people seek treatment at American Addiction Centers. To evaluate if you or a loved one may have a problem, there is free online assessment. We encourage people to reach out for help. Alcohol use disorder is treatable, but left untreated, will most likely get worse.”

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