Thank you for this. I’m not in start-up culture at all, but I’ve noticed alcohol playing a role in a few professional settings, though not to the extremes you have.
I don’t drink for (mostly) medical reasons, and I’ve always felt that others assumed I thought I was “better” than them or didn’t want to socialize with them, if I sip water during after-work drinks. It reminds me of college, when I didn’t drink until I turned 21. People would get so offended if I declined to take a shot with them, but I never took issue with others drinking around me and I still don’t.
Just so strange that it continues into professional life. It’s like if you won’t have a beer with someone, then you’re not to be fully trusted.
Anyway, this probably doesn’t offer any new insight, but I really appreciate hearing from a person with a similar experience to mine. Just wanted to say that.