Drinking on the Job as an Employee Benefit?

The San Francisco Chronicle, the major newspaper in the Bay Area, carried an article in its Sunday edition that raises some concerns about the culture surrounding the high tech industries that often seem to be re-shaping the world. The article, entitled “Bar’s open at Startups,” reports that at prominent companies such as Twitter and Yelp it’s not unusual for beer to be free and available throughout the work day: “At Yelp Inc.’s San Francisco headquarters, a keg refrigerator provides a never-ending supply of beer to employees, letting them drink as much as they like” according to the article.

For those aware of the destructive power of alcohol, and of the difficulties presented to those struggling with addiction when alcohol is omnipresent, this seems like an alarming step backwards towards the days of the “three-martini lunch” (not that those lunches have ever entirely disappeared).

“We treat employees as adults,” said a Twitter spokesperson, “and they act accordingly.” The spokesperson seems to believe that “adults” don’t run into problems with alcohol.

Nobody wants to return to any sort of prohibition, but a greater realization by employers of the dangers alcohol carries, and the damage it does, is surely not too much to ask.


  1. JeffK on July 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I like this, “When you’re working at a startup, you’re working 24/7 and it takes over your life,” he said. “It’s not like it’s a wild fraternity party or something like that – we’re all adults.” Seems like a typical society view, people who drink to excess are “partying” and not acting like adults, when in fact they have a chemical dependency problem that has rewired their brains, and after a point the problem will get worse and worse until they get help from people who understand their problem – fellow addicts, support groups, treatment centers, whatever it takes. Makes you wonder what will ever change the perception that addicts are morally corrupt or irresponsible and childish.

  2. business on March 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I was immediately introduced to the positive benefits of consuming moderate quantities of Guinness and soon learnt that part of the marketing strategy at that time was to promote the slogan Guinness is good for you. By 1900 Guinness was selling its stout in bottle as invalid stout and this continued until the 1920s mainly in Ireland…………………………Right up to the 1980s there was a genuinely held belief that naturally conditioned bottle Guinness consumed in moderation was a tonic and a health benefit to the consumer. ………………………..It was in 1960 that Guinness was challenged by a doctor in the U.K.