Friday, May 15, 2009

Post-College Drinking

A new study finds that kids just out of college, a demo/psychographic called "Cyber Millenials," are drinking more than current college kids. They're also working out more, so they're healthier in that regard.

At first glance, this finding didn't surprise me at all. My memories of the years just after college - from 20 to 25, really - are pretty hazy. Especially that last year, when I was 25 and I'd just moved to Canton, taking up a pretty much permanent spot at the Claddagh's upstairs bar.

But then I started thinking a little more about the kind of drinking I did in college vs. in those years after - and there was a difference. The study, which relies on self-reported numbers, vaguely suggests that this post-college crew is drinking better, but is just as heavy on the hard stuff, as the college kids. I wonder if that's the case, though.

Better, I believe. It would be hard to drink cheaper than most kids in college (1995 cost of a case of Milwaukee's Best Light in Virginia = $6.99). But based on my outdated sample of one, the type of drinking changes. It has to. There's a difference between getting up to throw on sweats (or, in my case, a white t-shirt, denim button down and short plaid skirt) for a 10 am class and making it to work, presentably, by 8:30 or 9.

So while in college my five drinks might have been two beers and three shots of bourbon, five post-college drinks probably meant five Miller Lites. Maybe a gin and tonic and four MLs.

So, yes, it's true that post-college kids keep on drinking. But the study's quantitative focus neglects a very qualitative, but important, question: drinking what?

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